4/5/2004 - Five leading embedded single board computer (SBC) manufacturers announced at electronicaUSA/Embedded Systems Conference the publication of a new industry standard for small form factor embedded computer boards, called Embedded Platform for Industrial ComputingTM or EPIC. The EPIC standard provides a platform on which to build the next generation of feature-rich, embedded systems for industrial, medical, military, transportation, and commercial applications. The specification is published as an open standard by Micro/sys, Octagon Systems, VersaLogic Corp., WinSystems, Inc. and Ampro Computers, Inc., all pioneers and innovators in standards-based embedded computing. The specification can be downloaded free-of-charge.
Embedded systems manufacturers who require faster CPUs and/or more I/O than found on a PC/104 CPU can now design in a broadly-supported, standardized, full featured platform. This is especially important for applications that cannot accommodate larger EBX-sized boards. Phase one of the EPIC standard supports more than 1,000 PC/104 and PC/104-Plus compliant I/O expansion modules. This assures embedded systems designers long-term availability, expansion, and support. Future phases of the EPIC standard will support new bus technologies such as PCI ExpressTM while maintaining consistency in footprint and mounting hole placement.
"For years, the embedded single board computer market has suffered from the lack of a published mid-sized motherboard standard," said Eric Gulliksen, market analyst at Venture Development Corporation (VDC). "The publication of the EPIC form factor specification and the support commitment by five market leaders brings relief to system manufacturers who need consistency and standardization in a mid-sized SBC. EPIC could be the biggest development in the industry since the PC/104 Consortium was founded 12 years ago."
EPIC Supports I/O Expansion
The 115mm x 165mm (4.5" x 6.5") size is optimal for including full PC/104-Plus compliance (ISA and PCI buses) and a rich set of I/O implemented as either pin-headers or PC-style connectors. The standard provides specific I/O zones to implement, for example, multiple Ethernet ports, 4 or more serial ports, general-purpose I/O, video, and even application-specific I/O such as 802.11x wireless, IEEE 1394 FirewireTM, and the latest technologies. The area of the EPIC card is almost exactly halfway between the universally accepted PC/104 and EBX standards.
The EPIC standard is designed to reduce the confusion caused by the introduction in the last few years of various mid-sized cards plagued with inconsistent connector and expansion schemes, and with no governing specifications.
EPIC – A Bridge to the Future
EPIC is the only mid-sized embedded motherboard form factor for which a governing specification is published. Solutions are now in development by Octagon, VersaLogic, WinSystems, Ampro, and Micro/sys. For more information, visit them at the electronicaUSA/Embedded Systems Conference or contact them afterwards.
About Ampro Computers, Inc.
Ampro Computers, Inc. is the leading global provider of modular embedded computing solutions for OEM applications. Ampro’s mission is to provide time saving solutions for embedded systems designers that accelerate the product deployment process. Ampro pioneered the embedded PC industry creating the popular PC/104 and EBX standards. The EnCoreTM family is a Computer-on-Module (COM) which enables designers to obtain all the benefits of an off-the-shelf CPU solution while maintaining the flexibility of a full custom design. In addition to EnCore, Ampro offers three product lines; PC/104-compatible CoreModuleTM CPUs and MiniModuleTM expansion products, and EBX form factor LittleBoardTM single-board computers (SBC). Ampro was awarded Electronique magazine's "Electron d'Or 2002" for subsystems for the EnCore M2 product. For more information about Ampro Computers, please visit http://www.ampro.com.
Embedded Platform for Industrial Control is a trademark of Ampro Computers, Inc., Micro/sys, Octagon Systems, VersaLogic, Corp. and WinSystems, Inc.
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