Spartan Edge Accelerator Arduino Compatible Board Combines ESP32 & Spartan-7 FPGA

Xilinx Spartan FPGAs have been around for a while, and a few years ago we covered Spartan-6 FPGA boards such as Spartixed and miniSpartan6+.  Seeed Studio has now launched another Xilinx Spartan board with WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity.

Spartan Edge Accelerator Board follows Arduino UNO form factor and combines a more recent Xilinx Spartan-7 FPGA with Espressif Systems ESP32 WiFi + Bluetooth chip.

Spartan Edge Accelerator
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Spartan Edge Accelerator specifications:

  •  FPGA – Xilinx Spartan-7 XC7S15 FPGA with 12.8K Logic Cells and 360Kb block RAM
  • WiSoC – Espressif Systems ESP32 SoC with 802.11 b/g/n 2.4GHz WiFi and Bluetooth 4.1  BLE
  • Storage – SPI flash, MicroSD card slot
  • Video Output – Mini HDMI
  • Video Input – CSI Camera Interface with support for OV5640 sensor
  • USB – USB type-C port
  • Expansion
    • Arduino UNO headers (5V)
    • FPGA I/O header
    • DAC output and ADC input header (via 8-bit ADC1173 chip)
    • 2x Grove connectors (I2C and digital I/O)
  • Debugging / Programming – Arduino ICSP header, FPGA  JTAG interface
  • Sensors –  6 axis accelerometer and gyroscope
  • Misc – Power switch, 2x ESP32 buttons, 3x FPGA buttons, 2x user LEDs, 2x user RGB LEDs, DIP switch, power selection jumper
  • Power Supply
    • 5V via USB-C port
    • 5V via Arduino micro USD port
    • 8 to 17V via VIN pin
  • Dimensions – Arduino UNO form factor

Xilinx Spartan ESP32 ArduinoThe company provides FPGA APIs for Arduino that will let you control the FPGA from the Arduino IDE, and perform tasks such as “edge technology”, image recognition, signal sampling and processing, and so on. The board can be used either standalone or as a shield connected to an Arduino UNO or compatible board. You’ll find more details about the board and information to get started on the wiki.

Spartan Edge Accelerator Arduino UNO
Spartan Edge Accelerator (SEA) connected to Arduino UNO

Spartan Edge Accelerator board can be pre-ordered for $35.90 on Seeed Studio website with shipping scheduled for October 10th. Bear in mind it’s not the only ESP32 + FPGA solution around, as we previously covered Microsemi based Smartfusion2 maker board and ULX3S board based on Lattice Semi ECP5 FPGA. Of course, if you want an Arduino board with FPGA plus WiFi and Bluetooth, you could always go with the official Arduino MKR Vidor 4000 combining an Intel Cyclone FPGA with Microchip SAMD21  MCU and a U-blox NINA W10 Series module (ESP32 based).

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Alan Campbell

while there are plenty of FPGA boards with Arduino headers, you would be surprised at how many forget to be 5V compatible. You might also be surprised at how few Arduino shields mention, on the shield, the logic levels they use.