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Accelerate USB-enabled Designs with Lattice CrossLinkU-NX FPGAs

Accelerate USB-enabled Designs with Lattice CrossLinkU-NX FPGAs - Blog Image
Posted 09/26/2023 by Lattice Semiconductor

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Today, Lattice extended its embedded vision FPGA leadership with the launch of the Lattice CrossLinkU™-NX FPGA family, our latest FPGAs based on the award-winning Lattice Nexus™ platform. CrossLinkU-NX FPGAs build on the best-in-class capabilities of Lattice CrossLink-NX FPGAs, adding a USB interface to help developers design innovative USB-equipped embedded vision and AI solutions for Compute, Industrial, Automotive, and Consumer markets.

Introducing CrossLinkU-NX - Blog Image

As part of our launch preparations, we sat down with Lattice Product Marketing Manager Peiju Chiang to learn more about the features and benefits this new FPGA family brings to our customers.

Can you tell us about the importance of having integrated USB and what opportunities opens up for system and application designers?

Having integrated USB is becoming more and more important because you can find it everywhere. You find them in a wide range of systems like PCs, tablets, server workstations, industrial terminals, cars, and test instruments. The sheer size of the USB ecosystem provides plenty of opportunities for innovation with programmable devices like FPGAs.

For example, the industrial and automation camera market is expected to grow to be 8 billion USD market by 2030 with the increased adoption of Edge AI in applications. Smarter sensors are key to this growth and USB provides a quick way to connect sensors to a system and tap into its processing power. The plug-and-play aspect of the USB also simplifies the deployment of these sensors, making USB ideal for dynamic environments.

Camera Growth Creates More Opportunities for FPGA with USB - Blog Image

What challenges do CrossLinkU-NX FPGAs solve for developers looking to expand their AI and vision applications?

Image sensors need to interface with an FPGA to provide bridging or simple processing functions in a compact module. A low power and small form factor FPGA such as the Lattice CrossLinkU-NX helps to reduce the board area by lowering the thermal budget and eliminating the need for extra components to enable the USB connection. These benefits translate to a simpler board design that saves development time and material cost for our customers.

CrossLinkU-NX combines all the benefits of the Nexus platform with its first-in-class integrated USB features:

  • Hardened USB interface
    • Features hardened USB 2.0 up to 480 Mbps and USB 3.2 up to 5 Gbps
    • Reduces total cost of ownership and area needed for discrete PHY components
    • Reduces FPGA fabric resources required for USB device controller
  • Low power
    • Provides up to 75% lower power compared to competing FPGAs of a similar class
    • Low power stand-by mode with Always-On extends battery life and simplifies system thermal management, while also reducing power consumption up to 6X in a typical embedded vision application
  • Best-in-class performance
    • 64 DSP resources and 33 k logic cell density with up to 3.7 Mb embedded memory optimized for AI inferencing
  • Versatile programmable I/O
    • Programmable source synchronous I/O pairs for camera and display interfacing
    • Supports MIPI D-+HY, LVDS, subLVDS, SLVS, CMOS
  • Device security
    • Secure design using AES256 bitstream encryption and ECC256 bitstream authentication

A Deep Dive into Lattice CrossLinkU-NX - Blog Image

What specific markets and applications is CrossLinkU-NX designed for?

The Lattice CrossLinkU-NX devices extend Lattice’s industry-leading embedded vision FPGA portfolio, providing new sensor bridging options (USB 3.2 up to 5 Gbps) in addition to Gigabit ethernet, PCIe, and MIPI CSI-2 found on other Lattice CrossLink-NX devices.

Industrial and automation camera market requirements align with CrossLinkU-NX’s features very well. We also see opportunities across medical, computing, consumer IoT, and automotive applications. With that said, CrossLinkU-NX can serve a broad range of applications with a complete set of reference designs offering a Lattice Propel™ template, host driver, and example host utilities for USB to I/O bridging and MIPI CSI-2 to USB bridging applications to accelerate USB device implementation on the FPGA.

Enabling Broad Range of Applications - Blog Image

When can developers start using CrossLinkU-NX and is Lattice providing any reference design or demos?

They can start right away! We have reference designs and demos for two example applications available today:

  1. I/O bridging and aggregation over USB 2.0 for platform management
  2. Camera sensor bridging over USB commonly found in industrial sensor modules

Lattice CrossLinkU-NX: Ready for Developers - Blog Image

CrossLinkU-NX FPGAs are sampling today and are supported by the latest release of Lattice Radiant® design software.

To learn more about the CrossLinkU-NX FPGAs and how Lattice can help you accelerate your USB-based design development, reach out to speak with the team at Lattice.