HiSilicon Hi3559A Board Enables Smart 8K Camera Development

Orange Pi Development Boards

HiSilicon Hi3559A 5-core Arm Cortex A73/A53 camera processor was announced in 2017 with support for 8K 30fps or 4K 120fps video recording, as well as an integrated dual core neural network accelerator (NNA). It should not be confused with the earlier Hi3559 4K 30 fps processor, or the newer Hi3559C that looks to be the same as Hi3559A without the NNA.

Nevertheless, today I was lead to check about Hi3559A processor once again, and I could not find any camera that you can just buy and use today. I still found some upcoming Hi3559A products with OBSBOT Tail AI camera offered for as low as $509 on Kickstarter (delivery scheduled for April 2019), one 4K  120fps OEM? camera from GKuvision, as well as an HiSilicon Hi3559A development board for 8K camera applications, which I’ll look into more details in this blog post.

Hi3559A Development Board

HI3559AV100DMEB specifications:

  • SoC – Hisilicon Hi3559A V100 with 2x Arm Cortex A73 cores @ 1.8 GHz, 2x Arm Cortex A53 cores @ 1.2 GHz, 1x low power Arm Cortex A53 core @ 1.2 GHz, Arm Mali-G71 GPU, Integrated intelligent analysis and acceleration engine with dual core DSP & single core NNA, and an Arm Cortex-M7 based Sensor Hub
  • System Memory – TBD
  • Storage – 2x microSD card sockets
  • Camera I/F – 2x camera connectors
  • Video Output – 1x HDMI 2.0 output up to 4K @ 60 Hz
  • Video
    • Encoding – H.264 BP/MP/HP, and H.265 Main Profile/Main 10 Profile up to 7680 x 4320 @ 30 fps + 1080p @ 30 fps + 7680 x 4320 @ 2 fps snapshot
    • Decoding – H.264 BP/MP/HP, H.265 MP/Main 10/High Tier up to 8K @ 30 fps or H.264/H.265 4K @ 120 fps
  • Audio – 3.5mm audio output jack, 2x 3.5mm LINE IN jacks, I2S header
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet (RJ45) port
  • USB – 1x USB 3.0 port, 1x micro USB 2.0 port
  • Expansion
    • 1x PCIe x1 connector
    • 4x UART headers
    • 3x headers for the Sensor Hub (I2C?)
  • Debugging – 3-pin UART header for serial console, 20-pin JTAG header
  • Misc – 2x 4-way DIP switches, 4x buttons (Reset, Power, Update, Menu)
  • Power Supply – 12V DC
  • Dimensions – 163 x 119.9 mm

8K Camera Board

Apparently there’s a document named “HI3559AV100 Demo single board user guide.pdf” (HI3559AV100 Demo 单板用户指南.pdf) with more basic details, but it’s not available publicly. The kit is said to include the board, a Sony IMX334 board (38x38mm) plus flat cable, a TTL to RS232 serial debug port, a 12V power adapter, and “Hass original software SDK package” that comes with all schematics and PCB layout. That Sony CMOS  image sensor features a square pixel array with 8.42 M effective pixels, and the recommended resolution is 3840×2160 (8.29M pixels), so you’d need another camera sensor if you ever planed to record 8K with the board. It should still be possible to leverage 4K 120 fps capability of the processor with that kit.

Hi3559A 8K camera boardYou’d better contact the seller to make sure the board is compatible with whatever you plan to achieve since it does not come cheap being sold for $1,999 plus shipping on Aliexpress. The standard price in China looks to be under 8,000 RMB, or less than $1,200.

I could learn a few more details in a Chinese website:

  1. Hi3559A V100 and Hi3559A V100ES are two different SoCs with respectively two DSP cores + 1-core NNIE (Neural Network Intelligent Engine),  and four DSP cores + dual-core NNIE’s. The board above appears to be based on the V100 chipset
  2. The NNIE supports the following
    • Alexnet, VGG16, Googlenet, Resnet18, Resnet50 and other classification neural networks
    • Various target detection neural networks such as Faster R-CNN, YOLO, SSD, RFCN, and YoloV2
    • Scene segmentation networks such as SegNet and FCN
    • 2.0TOPS neural network computing performance (not sure whether that’s for the single core or dual core version)
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