3D game running on FPGA shown to be 50x more efficient than on x86 hardware

3D game FPGA

Sphery vs. shapes is an open-source 3D raytraced game written in C and translated into FPGA bitstream that runs 50 times more efficiently on FPGA hardware than on an AMD Ryzen processor. Verilog and VHDL languages typically used on FPGA are not well-suited to game development or other complex applications, so instead, Victor Suarez Rovere and Julian Kemmerer relied on Julian’s “PipelineC” C-like hardware description language (HDL) and Victor’s CflexHDL tool that include parser/generator and math types library in order to run the same code on PC with a standard compile, and on FPGA through a custom C to VHDL translator. More details about the game development and results are provided in a white paper. Some math functions were needed, including: floating point addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, reciprocals, square root, inverse square roots, vector dot products, vector normalization, etc. Fixed point counterparts were also used for performance reasons and to […]

$5.5 Banana Pi BPI-PicoW-S3 ESP32-S3 board follows Raspberry Pi Pico W form factor

Banana Pi BPI-PicoW-S3 Raspberry Pi Pico W alternative

Banana Pi’s BPI-PicoW-S3 is a development board following the Raspberry Pi Pico W form factor, but based on Espressif System ESP32-S3 dual-core microcontroller offering both WiFi 4 and Bluetooth LE connectivity. The Raspberry Pi SBCs have inspired many designs, but the Raspberry Pi Pico MCU boards less so. So far, I had only seen the WeAct RP2040 board with the same layout except for a USB Type-C port and a 16MB flash. But the Banana Pi BPI-PicoW-S3 provides a direct alternative to the Raspberry Pi Pico W with a more powerful microcontroller, vector instructions for AI acceleration, BLE, and about the same price at $5.5 plus shipping. Let’s see how the BPI-PicoW-S3 specifications compare to the ones of the Raspberry Pi Pico W in the table below. While the power signal (5V, 3.3V, GND) and GPIO numbers are the same on both boards, there are a few variations here and […]

Luxonis OAK-D series 2 USB and PoE cameras integrate 3D depth and AI for robotics applications

Luxonis OAK-D S2 depth AI camera

Luxonis OAK-D Series 2 are the second-generation of USB or PoE cameras with 3D depth and a built-in AI accelerator mostly used for computer vision in robotics applications. We first wrote about Luxonis’ DepthAI module for Raspberry Pi based on the Intel Myriad X AI accelerator in 2019, and later found the module integrated into OpenCV AI Kit Lite, aka OAK-D Lite camera. The second-generation OAK-D cameras replace the module with a Robotics Vision Core 2 (RVC2) “chip-down design” equipped an SoC and Myriad X AI accelerator for up to 4 TOPS of processing power, including 1.4 TOPS for AI inference. Luxonis OAK-D Series 2 specifications and features: Robotics Vision Core 2 based on Myriad X AI accelerator 4 TOPS of processing power (1.4 TOPS for AI) Video encoding – H.264, H.265, MJPEG @ 4Kp3, 1080p60 Computer vision – Warp/dewarp, resize, crop via ImageManip node, edge detection, feature tracking, custom […]

Arducam ToF camera adds depth sensing to Raspberry Pi for $30 (Crowdfunding)

Arducam ToF camera Raspberry Pi

Arducam has launched of Time-of-Flight (ToF) camera module for Raspberry Pi that enables depth sensing by capturing 3D data (at 240×180 resolution) at a distance of up to 4 meters. Arducam has launched several cameras for Raspberry Pi boards over the years, more recently the Arducam Pi HawkEye 64MP camera, but the Arducam ToF camera is quite different, as while it still connects to the MIPI CSI connector of the SBC, it is used to measure distances and depth and display 3D data. Arducam ToF camera specifications: Compatibility – Any Raspberry Pi board with a MIPI CSI connector Effective number of pixels – 240×180 Frame Rate Up to 120 fps (sensor) Up to 30 fps (when processed by a Raspberry Pi using 4-phases RAW frames) Sensor size – 1/6-inch Modulation Frequency – 75MHz/37.5MHz Viewing Angle – 70° Diagonal Light Source – 940nm VCSEL illuminator Output Formats 4-phases RAW Frame Depth […]

LILYGO T-QT V1.1 – A cute little board with ESP32-S3 and a 0.85-inch color display


LILYGO must be churning out at least one new “ESP32” board every month, but I don’t think they’ve ever made one with ESP32-S3. LILYGO T-QT V1.1 board changes that and combines the dual-core WiFi 4 and Bluetooth LE 5.0 AI microcontroller with a 0.85-inch color display. The board also happens to be rather small and cute with a 33 x 18 mm form factor, offers some I/O via headers and a 4-pin connector, and can be powered via its USB Type-C port or a battery, but lacks a charging circuit. LILYGO T-QT V1.1 specifications: Wireless MCU – Espressif Systems ESP32-S3 dual-core Tensilica LX7 @ up to 240 MHz with vector instructions for AI acceleration, 512KB RAM, wireless connectivity Storage – 8MB flash Connectivity via ESP32-S3 2.4 GHz 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi 4 with 40 MHz bandwidth support Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) 5.0 connectivity with long-range support, up to 2Mbps data rate. […]

Getting started with WiFi on Raspberry Pi Pico W board

Raspberry Pi Pico W UART serial console

Raspberry Pi Trading announced the Raspberry Pi Pico W board basically based on the same design as the original Raspberry Pi Pico board with RP2040 dual-core Cortex-M0+ microcontroller but adding a wireless module with WiFi 4 and Bluetooth LE 5.2, although the latter is not enabled on the board at this time. The company sent me a sample for review/evaluation, and I’ll focus on the WiFi part since the Raspberry Pi Pico W supports the same MicroPython and C/C++ SDKs as for the Raspberry Pi Pico board plus additional APIs for wireless connectivity. Raspberry Pi Pico W unboxing The board I received was cut from a 480-unit reel, and I also got a one-meter long micro USB to USB cable, which should probably not be included by default for people ordering the $6 board. Just like its predecessor, the board is tiny, and The pinout is the same as the […]

Raspberry Pi Pico W – A $6 Raspberry Pi Pico board with WiFi 4

Raspberry Pi Pico W

I was expecting the next official Raspberry Pi board to be either an update of Raspberry Pico with WiFi and Bluetooth or with a machine learning accelerator and the new $6 Raspberry Pi Pico W delivers that wish through the addition of 2.4GHz WiFi 4. Having said that, I was actually expecting a competitor to ESP8266 or ESP32 with a new Raspberry Pi wireless microcontroller, but it did quite happen that way as the Raspberry Pi Pico W features the same Raspberry Pi RP2040 dual-core Cortex-M0+ microcontroller found in Raspberry Pi Pico board coupled with an Infineon CYW43439 chip that’s supposed to support both 2.4 GHz WiFi 4 and Bluetooth LE 5.2. Bluetooth is not enabled right now, but may be at a later stage. Raspberry Pi Pico W specifications: MCU – Raspberry Pi RP2040 dual-core Cortex-M0+ microcontroller @ 133 MHz with 264KB SRAM Storage – 2MB QSPI flash Connectivity […]

Iono RP D16 industrial IO module features Raspberry Pi RP2040 MCU

Iono RP D16 industrial IO module Raspberry Pi RP2040

Sfera Labs has launched another Raspberry Pi RP2040-based hardware platform with the Iono RP D16 industrial IO module following the Exo Sense RP multi-sensor module we covered last month. The Iono RP D16 module provides sixteen digital 24V I/O lines, an RS-485 serial interface, a wide range 12-28V power supply input, and its DIN-rail case enables installation in electrical cabinets and automation control systems. Iono RP D16 specifications: MCU – Raspberry Pi RP2040 dual-core Arm Cortex-M0+ microcontroller @ 133MHz with 264kB on-chip SRAM Storage – 16MB SPI flash Inputs/Outputs via terminal blocks Up to 16x 24V 640mA outputs driven by high-side switches that can also be configured as push-pull drivers for high-speed switching (via MAX14912 chips) Up to 16x 24V IEC 61131-2 compliant current-sinking inputs (via MAX22190 chips) 4x TTL level I/Os (1-Wire, I2C, Wiegand support) Serial  –  RS-485 interface to the RP2040 serial lines via terminal block with electrostatic […]