With the release of its WildFire microcontroller, Intec Automation Inc. is banking on Linux making inroads into control and automation, a field dominated by platforms with a plethora of I/O resources to interface to the real world, but with insufficient resources to run Linux. The platforms that do have the resources for Linux, such as x86 and ARM based platforms, have mostly been developed for communications, infotainment and, to interact with people. They have not been developed to interact with sensors, relays and motors, and therefore often lack the I/O resources to interface to the real world.
The WildFire is the successor to Intec’s popular F16-mite family of microcontrollers. Like the mite, it too is very small; small enough to embed in actuators and tight enclosures. It too has an abundance of I/O and features to interface to the real world. What separates the WildFire from the mite is that it is even faster, thanks to its 66MHz ColdFire mpu, it has two more serial ports, plus it has Ethernet and CAN ports and more than enough RAM and flash to support full featured communication stacks and OSes such as Linux. Other features include a SDIO card connector for additional memory, 802.11 or BlueTooth cards. For applications where power must be rationed, such as remote data acquisition, a battery-backed clock-calendar is available to restore power to the board 1 second to 1 week after the power has been turned off