The Mojo – $65 FPGA Development Board Powered By Xilinx Spartan 6

Embedded Micro has started a kickstarter campaign to fund an FPGA board called “the Mojo”, “designed to be user friendly and a great introduction into digital design”. The board is powered by a Xilinx Spartan 6 FPGA that comes with over 9,000 logic cells, and will allow you to design digital circuits composed of a bunch of logic and, or, nor, etc… gates connected together to perform a specific task. Here are the features of “The Mojo”: Spartan 6 XC6SLX9 FPGA – 9,152 logic cells for your largest designs 84 general purpose digital IO pins (3.3V logic level) 8 analog inputs 8 user controlled LEDs A USB connection (new revision) to configure the FPGA and send receive data from your design On board voltage regulation (4.5V – 12V input, 3.3V and 1.2V outputs) 8 MHz on-board clock (can be multiplied internally by the FPGA) A reset button to be used in your designs […]

Posibus Peripheral Emulator Powered by Emcraft SmartFusion (Cortex M3 + FPGA) Solutions

According to Wikipedia, Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) PDP-8 was the first successful commercial minicomputer, and was introduced in March 1965. Mike Thompson, working at Rhode Island Computer Museum (RICM), has restored a PDP-8/L system that was sold between 1968 through 1971. The system can be expanded with 4K of core, a paper tape reader (PR8/L), and/or a punch (PP8/L) controller. But the tape reader is not available anymore, so Mike decided to designe a Posibus peripheral (Tape Reader) emulator using a board with an FPGA + micro-controller. The easiest way to perform this task was to get an SoC that comes with an MCU and a FPGA to avoid having to create an FPGA <-> MCU interface. This is why he chose Emcraft Linux SmartFusion Evaluation Kit featuring a Microsemi Smartfusion cSOC with a Cortex M3 core and an embedded FPGA. The whole setup is shown below. Three FlipChip interface boards […]

Zedboard Xilinx Zynq-7000 Community Board is Now Available

Based in March, I wrote about Xilinx Zynq-7000 Extensible Processing Platform (EPP), a SoC comprises of a Dual Cortex A9 and an FPGA, as well as the corresponding development boards and kits: Xilinx Zynq-7000 EPP ZC702 Evaluation Kit based on Zynq-7020 with all the basic components (595 USD). Xilinx Zynq-7000 EPP Video Kit based on Zynq-7020 with all necessary hardware, software and IP components for the development of custom video applications (1195 USD). Zynq-7000 EPP ZedBoard, a low cost development board for the developers community. At the time, the first 2 (expensive) boards were available, but there was little information about the Zedboard. But yesterday evening, I noticed Zedboard website had a lot more information and we now know details about the board and it is even possible to purchase it. Here are the Zedboard specifications: Processor – Xilinx Zynq-7020 Dual ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore @ 677 MHz Memory 512 MB […]

Xilinx Zynq-7000 Extensible Processing Platform (EPP): Dual Cortex A9 + FPGA SoC

The Xilinx Zynq-7000 EPP (Extensible Processing Platform) is a new class of device, offering a mix of a dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 subsystem (including cache, memory controllers, interface, and peripheral functions) with a 28-nm programmable digital FPGA and programmable analog capabilities. This  combination opens the door to a range of demanding applications, including automotive (video processing and analytics requirements for driver assistance systems), broadcast (high-bit-rate bandwidth for high-accuracy video processing and analytics), and industrial control systems that combine high-processing demands with tight integration requirements. There are actually 4 models which share the same processing subsystem (CPU core, memory, peripherals, etc…) and only differ by the programmable logic used: Z-7010 – Artix-7 FPGA with 28K logic cells. Z-7020 – Artix-7 FPGA with 85K logic cells. Z-7030 – Kintex-7 FPGA with 125K logic cells. Z-7045 – Kintex-7 FPGA with 350K logic cells. The Zynq-7000 EPP platform allows concurrent software and hardware development: System […]

Embedded Systems Outlook and Trends for 2012

National Instruments has recently published a report entitled “Embedded Systems Outlook 2012 – Key Technologies and Methodologies Impacting the Embedded Systems Market” which lists technology and business trends for the development of embedded systems. Here are the key findings: Technologies & Architectures: Embedded Platforms Technology providers are developing components, modules, or even complete embedded platforms (software + hardware) with higher levels of integration and increased functionality to speed up time to market. System-on-Chip (SoC) and System-on-Module (SoM) benefit from this trend and some also embed a FPGA. Reconfigurable Computing Previously, designers chose between low-cost microcontroller or high performance CPU based on the expected performance needs of the embedded system. As cost decreases and performance increases, low cost devices such as control and monitoring systems now often come with more features thanks to the use of programmable logic. This type of flexibility can be achieved by adding an FPGA to the MCU […]

Embedded Hardware & Systems Trends for 2012 and Beyond

VDC Research currently has a research program called “STRATEGIC INSIGHTS 2012: EMBEDDED HARDWARE & SYSTEMS” where they analyze potential opportunities and give forecasts for embedded systems market through 2016. Some recent insights from their ongoing coverage of the Embedded Hardware & Systems market include: The Communications / Networking market is engaged in a period of dynamic change that is redefining the sector’s processing requirements. FPGAs & Linux are redefining embedded market growth requirements. The smart grid is creating new opportunities for embedded processors. Single board computers are enabling next-generation computing for military / aerospace applications. The Institute for Supply Management’s PMI index continues to demonstrate isolated pockets of regional growth, suggesting that new project starts and sustained unit shipments will maintain embedded market growth in 2012. The final reports should be available in 2012 as follows: TRACK 1: FASTFORWARD: INSIGHT FOR LEADERS Volume Number Volume Title Publication Date 1 Generating […]

ASUS Tinker board - Raspberry Pi alternative