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Develop NXP i.MX 8M Voice Controlled Smart Devices with MCIMX8M-EVK Evaluation Kit

We first heard about NXP i.MX 8M processsors in October 2016, and at the end of last year, WandPi 8M development board was unveiled with shipping scheduled for Q2 2018 once the processor will start manufacturing. Other exciting i.MX 8M projects include Purism Librem 5 smartphone, MNT Reform DIY modular computer, and I’m sure there will be others development board & products, and plenty of system-on-modules introduced with the processor in 2018.

NXP i.MX 8M processor also got in the news at CES 2018, because it will be one of the hardware platforms certified for Android Things, and NXP also issued a press release to announced the processor’s multimedia capability with be used in voice controlled devices with or without video.

NXP i.MX 8M Block Diagram

The PR refers to Gartner Research saying that “voice commands will dominate 50 percent of all searches in the next two years”, and explains that with thinner and thinner TV, sound bars and smart speaker swill become more popular and integrate features such as voice control, home automation, … which can be served by iMX 8M family of applications processors. The company also expects the processors to be found in lighting, thermostats, door locks, home security, smart sprinklers, other smart home systems and devices. One of the main purpose of that press release was to say “come to see demos at our CES 2018 booth” including:

  • i.MX 8M hardware that will be driving voice, video, and audio all at the same time, while also displaying 4K HDR, dual screen and immersive audio capabilities.
  • Android Things demos of drawing robots (drawbots) that use on-device processing power to sketch attendee selfies in real-time, and Manny, a Things-powered robotic hand (handbot) that uses TensorFlow plus computer vision to mirror hand gestures and play games.
  • An Alexa solution with leading features such as display support, multi-room audio and integrated talk-to-call.

NXP i.MX 8M Evaluation Kit

Click to Enlarge

Since the processor is still new, many of those demos will be implemented with the company’s MCIMX8M-EVK evaluation kits with the following features:

  • Processor – NXP i.MX 8M Quad (MIMX8MQ6DVAJZAA) quad core Cortex A53 applications processor, 1x Cortex-M4F real-time core, Vivante GC7000L GPU
  • System Memory – 3 GB LPDDR4
  • Storage – 16GB eMMC 5.0 flash, 32MB SPI NOR flash, micro SD card connector
  • Display interface – HDMI 2.0a Connector, DSI interface via Mini-SAS connector
  • Audio connectors – 3.5 mm stereo headphone output
  • Camera – CSI interface via Mini-SAS connectors
  • Connectivity
    • Gigabit Ethernet via RJ45 connector
    • 1x on-board 802.11ac WiFi/Bluetooth 4.2 module
    • 1x M.2 slot (KEY-E type)
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0/3.0 type C connector, 1x USB 2.0/3.0 host connector
  • Expansion Port – FPC connector (SAI ports)
  • Debug connectors – JTAG (10-PIN header), MicroUSB for UART debug
  • Misc – ONOFF & RESET buttons; Power status & UART LEDs
  • Power – NXP PMIC PF4210 + Discrete DCDC/LDO
  • Dimensions – 10 x 10 cm; 10-layer PCB

MCIMX8M-EVK Block Diagram – Click to Enlarge

The board ships with USB cable, a 12V/5.0A! power supply, and a quick start guide. If you plan to use audio input, you may need to add an Audio card via the SAI/I2C expansion port The company has also released a whole bunch of documents, hardware design files, SDKs, BSPs, MQX RTOS, and software tools right before CES 2018, which you can find on the evaluation kit and processor pages. The evaluation kit is sold for $449.00.

  1. animtakhnet
    January 11th, 2018 at 16:14 | #1

    I really hope they get etnaviv to run with this soc. Does anybody know how much they need to do to make it work? ( e.g. its 50% same as previous, or this part is new etc)

  2. January 11th, 2018 at 16:16 | #2

    It’s being worked on. See videos @ https://www.youtube.com/user/wladiwump/video

  3. animtakhnet
    January 11th, 2018 at 17:15 | #3

    Wow that looks very promising!

  4. TLS
    January 11th, 2018 at 17:57 | #4

    What’s the logic behind using mini-SAS connectors? That makes no sense at all to me.

  5. Sfinx
    January 12th, 2018 at 03:46 | #5

    spectre/meltdown free I’m hoping ? 😉

  6. January 12th, 2018 at 09:18 | #6

    Cortex-A53 so it should be no problem.

    I think Meltdown/Spectrum is pretty hard to exploit on user devices, as you need to access the device either remotely, or by making the user install malware. IMHO, it’s more of a serious problem for cloud service, VPS, where multiple people have access to the same machine.

  7. bantoto masabo sigola
    January 12th, 2018 at 10:56 | #7

    any idea how many nm is that ?
    couldnt find any info during the librem 5 crowdfunding

  8. January 12th, 2018 at 11:30 | #8

    @bantoto masabo sigola
    It should be manufactured with 28nm FD SOI process, at least that’s the case for i.MX 8X, and i.MX 8.

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