A Feather-Compatible FPGA Board Running a RISC-V Core with LoRaWAN

Alasdair Allan
2 min readDec 10, 2018

We’ve seen a number of interesting trends this year in the microcontroller market, so it’s perhaps somewhat fitting that as the year draws to a close we have a new board ties four of the major trends together. An FPGA board running a soft RISC-V core, with onboard LoRaWAN, in a Feather form factor.

The blue LED means the board is alive! (📷: Terrill Moore)

Put together by Terrill Moore, the CEO of MCCI, the prototype board is based on a Lattice Semiconductor ICE40 UltraPlus FPGA running a soft RISC-V core from the internal 128KB SRAM.

A Feather-compatible open source FPGA with an MCCI Catena 4710 (📷: Terrill Moore)

On the flip side of the board is a HopeRF RFM95W wireless module is built around the Semtech SX1276 to provide LoRa support.

The first 12 units of the Catena 4710 FPGA RISC-V board. (📷: Terrill Moore)

The board is equipped with a Bosch BMP680 environmental sensor — a combined gas, pressure, humidity, and temperature sensor — a light and colour sensor, an accelerometer, and what looks to be a microphone. There’s also an antenna connector at one end, as well as a USB and battery jack.

The Catena 4710 AQ01 with a 83mm whip antenna and a 350 mAh LiPo. (📷: Terrill Moore)

The board isn’t on the market yet, and beyond Moore’s own tweets details around the board are pretty sparse. However, if you were at the RISC-V Summit in Santa Clara last week, the board was on display at the MCCI booth in the exhibit hall. If you have more details, we’d love to take a look at it, and I know I’d really like to see it go into production.

[h/t: Adafruit]