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Designing Embedded Vision: It’s That Easy

VIP - Designing Embedded Vision: It’s That Easy
Posted 05/24/2018 by Dirk Seidel

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Video Interface Platform

On the path for faster time-to market and reduced development time and cost, rapid prototyping is required for many electronic designs. To accomplish this task, designers need to reuse existing hardware and software building blocks. The emergence of vision technologies further complicates this path as many design engineers have experience in everything but embedded vision! Faced with these new embedded vision challenges design engineers in the automotive, industrial, and consumer segments are looking for solutions that will make their life easier.

Embedded vision technology is not new. Cameras and image processing technologies have existed for decades. Just 10 years ago embedded vision technology was primarily used in relatively obscure, highly specialized applications. Now, these technologies have become mainstream, more affordable and have diffused into many different and exciting applications such as machine vision, Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), drones, gaming, surveillance and security, virtual reality (VR), medical equipment and AI. Specifically, the emergence of advanced robotics and machine learning, as well as migration to the Industry 4.0 manufacturing model, has unlocked promising new applications for embedded vision.

So, what has really changed now? The rapid rise of mobile phones and widely available mobile influenced technologies. These mobile influenced technologies, (e.g. high performance, low cost, and low power processors, and a large selection of sensors), are all catalysts for the embedded vision revolution. Now designers can choose from a wide range of lower cost processors and FPGAs capable of delivering higher performance in a compact footprint, while consuming minimal power. This has in turn created many new connectivity challenges.

What designers now need is a highly flexible solution that offers the logic resources of a high performance “best-in-class” co-processor capable of highly-parallel computation. This solution must be highly scalable, low-cost, consume minimal power, and provide flexible connectivity to support a wide range of I/O standards and protocols.

Lattice now addresses these challenges. The Video Interface Platform, called VIP, is an innovative rapid prototyping system for embedded vision applications, providing processing and flexible interface connectivity. The system contains multiple input and output boards as well as a FPGA Processor Board with our flagship ECP5 FPGA. System designers benefit from it by simply mixing and matching input and output boards and quickly creating a prototyping system.

The core of the VIP is the ECP5 VIP Processor Board. Designers can connect it to one of three input boards:

  1. CrossLink VIP Input Sensor Board with a dual image sensor,
  2. HDMI VIP Input Bridge Board, or
  3. DisplayPort VIP Input Board.

On the output side, designers have the choice of connecting either the

  1. DisplayPort VIP Output Board or
  2. USB3-GigE VIP Output Board, which provides USB and Gigabit Ethernet connectivity.

All boards can be simply connected through two 60-pin connectors. These standardized connectors eliminate any wiring and allow designers to build prototyping hardware in a blink of an eye.

Here are some examples:

  • Embedded vision designers can simply build a DisplayPort to HDMI bridge by choosing the DisplayPort VIP Input board and the HDMI output board and connect both to the Processor board.
  • A network or surveillance camera, requiring USB3 or Gigabit Ethernet connectivity, is quickly realized by connecting the dual sensor input board and the USB3 GigE VIP Output board to the ECP5 Processor board. To take advantage of the high-performance characteristics in a camera application, designers can replace any output board with the DisplayPort VIP Output board.

“It’s THAT easy”

In addition, Lattice offers multiple IP blocks either directly or through its 3rd party ecosystem, further simplifying the designer’s challenge. The 3rd party VIP ecosystem including commercial grade Image Signal Processing, networking stacks, GigE Vision and a variety of sensor input boards and embedded DisplayPort (eDP) IP.

VIP is the ideal tool for system designers looking for a highly flexible solution for rapid prototyping solution.

For more information, please visit our VIP web page

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