Many companies are still releasing NXP – soon to be Qualcomm – i.MX 6/7 system-on-modules, but I don’t cover all of them, since we have already many to choose from. But Compulab’s latest UCM-iMX7 SoM differentiates itself by it size, using the company’s “Ultra-compact Multilevel Module” (UCMM) technology, to pack NXP i.MX7 processor, 2GB RAM, 64 GB eMMC flash, and a wireless module into a 30 x 27 x 8 mm volume that could potentially fit into something as small as a watch.
The picture above clearly shows how UCMM technology works with the module comprised of two rigid PCBs and one flexible layer routing signals between the two allowing to bend and fold the rigid parts together to form a vertical stack. The principle could be extended to more PCBs and flexible layers, sof for example you could have four PCBs with three flexible layers in future / custom designs.
The rest of the specifications of UCM-iMX7 module are pretty standard:
- SoC – NXP i.MX7 Dual or Solo with ARM Cortex-A7 core(s) @ up to 1GHz, ARM Cortex-M4 co-processor @ 200MHz
- System Memory – Up to 2GB DDR3L-1066
- Storage – Up to 64GB eMMC flash or up to 1GB SLC NAND flash, SPI flash for bootloader, EEPROM
- Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet PHY, WiFi 802.11b/g/n + Bluetooth 4.1 BLE via BCM4343W module
- Audio – WM8731L audio codec
- Other On-module ICs – SPI resistive touch controller, USB 2.0 hub, PF3000 PMIC
- 2x 100-pin board-to-board connector with the following signals
- Parallel 24-bit display interface up to 1920 x 1080
- MIPI-DSI up to 1400 x 1050
- Touchscreen 4-wire resistive touch-screen support
- Parallel camera interface up to 24-bit
- MIPI-CSI with 2 data lanes
- Audio Audio codec with stereo line-out, line-in, mic
- Networking – Gigabit Ethernet
- PCI Express – PCIe x1 Gen. 2.1
- USB – 1x USB2.0 OTG + 4x USB2.0 host ports
- Up to 7x UART ports, up to 3x I2C, 3x SPI, 2x CAN, 6x Timer, 112x GPIO
- Up to 4x general-purpose ADC inputs
- Up to 2x MMC/SD/SDIO interface
- Power Supply – 3.2V to 4.5V / Li-Ion battery
- Dimensions – 30 x 27 x 8 mm
- Temperature Range – -40 to 85°C
The specifications above are about the same as the ones for Compulab’s CL-SOM-iMX7 SO-DIMM module, but in a much smaller form factor, at the costs of a thicker design.
UCM-iMX7 module currently supports Linux kernel 4.1.15, Yocto Project file system, and U-Boot bootloader, with the company working on mainline Linux and upstream Yocto Project. The company expects the module to be used for autonomous drones, smart glasses, healthcare monitors / medical devices, industrial handhelds, and smart IoT cameras.
While the module is not directly aimed at the smartwatch market, the company demonstrated their module with a tiny smartwatch like gadget equipped with UCM-i>MX7, a lithium battery, a 1.5″ LCD display, and an interconnect board.
UCM-iMX7 will be available later this month through Compulab and their distributors with prices starting at $39 for volume orders. EVAL-UCM-iMX7 evaluation kit will be offered at $475 with SB-UCM carrier board,WiFi antenna and cable, a serial port cable, HDMI to DVI cable, a USB cable and adapter, an LCD panel, adapters & cables for generic LCD panel interface, and a 12V power supply. You’ll find more details about the module and pricing options on UCM-iMX7 product page.