Graphics Acceleration

Always-on displays at ultra-low power

Related Products

Always-on displays are proliferating through mobile and consumer products. This can be as simple as a clock or as complex as a dynamic graphical interface. Wearables and some IoT devices that have displays, may want to show information continuously while being power conscious.

In order to implement this type of functionality, the application processor has to wake up from time to time to change the graphic on the screen causing overall increased power consumption. This iCE40 UltraPlus reference design allows a processor to stay in sleep mode the entire time the screen is in an always-on, low power mode.

A processor can setup iCE40 UltraPlus FPGA through SPI interface to display specific graphic and maintain it without intervention. iCE40 UltraPlus is able to store multiple frames and drive them onto the display through a MIPI DSI interface, while consuming a small amount of power.


  • Dynamic graphics on a display make the system more appealing
  • Enable a system processor to be asleep while the display is in an always-on, low power mode
  • Multiple graphics can be stored in the internal memory of iCE40 UltraPlus FPGA
  • SPI interface used for setup and DSI interface for driving display

Block Diagram

iCE40 UltraPlus Always on display block diagram


Technical Resources
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iCE40 UltraPlus Always On Display Design File
1.0 6/27/2017 ZIP 1.3 MB
iCE40 UltraPlus Always On Display Reference Design User Guide
FPGA-UG-02026 1.0 6/27/2017 PDF 1.2 MB

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