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Date: 17-01-12

FPGA gaining space in consumer electronics

Generally due to cost, complexity and power consumption, design engineers stayed away from using FPGA in consumer electronics design. However with the new 28nm chips, and even the larger node chips designed exclusively for consumer gadgets, FPGA is finding more space in consumer electronics. Also another reason is, these days consumer electronics need more computing power and the flexibility in hardware for product diffrentiation and new-standards adaptability. Developers are exploring methods to leverage FPGA in offering unique differntiating features. FPGA vendors are also supporting the domain with exclusive product families and reference designs. The major drawback of FPGA is higher cost (both chip and development), over the time it may also change. At Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2012, Xilinx and Lattice semiconductor have showcased some of their products.

Xilinx has announced it has demostrated Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) based Ethernet Audio/Video Bridging (EAVB) network implementation optimized for carrying high-speed data traffic within the automobile. The EAVB Development Kit was co-developed with Xilinx Alliance Program member Digital Design Corp. (DDC). In the Xilinx/DDC demonstration, video data from four different cameras are streamed over an EAVB network to an FPGA where further DA video and graphics processing can be performed (e.g. 3D vehicle surround view). The EAVB Development Kit is based on the Xilinx Automotive (XA) Spartan-6 FPGA.

Xilinx, Inc. has introduced new 28nm Kintex-7 Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA)-based reference designs and a new development baseboard for development of 3D and 4K2K display technologies. At CES 2012, Xilinx has demonstrated 4K2K Mosaic and HDTV-to-4K2K up-converter targeted reference designs and the new ACDC (Acquisition, Contribution, Distribution and Consumption) 1.0 Baseboard using Kintex-7 FPGAs, all jointly developed with Premier Xilinx Alliance Program member Tokyo Electron Device Ltd. (TED).

In addition to the 4K2K display, the demonstrations at CES 2012 by Xilinx includes:

smart immersive 3DTV , New glassless 3D 8-way viewing technology , A 3D head mount visor, and 3D eyewear: that simulates viewing a 75-inch 3D 16:9 display from 10 feet away. Each eye features a single 852x480 monitor and supports input resolutions up to 1280x720.
 An eReader that can display sheet music or kanji characters in 12 pt font with a fast page turning capability.
 An Android-based color display that can play music, video, and display PowerPoint slides even in direct sunlight.

Lattice Semiconductor in collaboration with Aptina has demonstrated a low cost, dual image sensor design at the Consumer Electronics Show .

The dual image sensor design utilizes two Aptina MT9M024/MT9M034, 720P image sensors and combines the image into a single bus on which an ISP (Image Signal Processor) can operate. The output stream can be used to implement 3D stereoscopic video or for other multi-camera applications. The low cost of the solution enables other consumer applications such as automotive black box drive recorders and surround view cameras. The low cost, low power Lattice MachXO2 PLD and a small SDRAM chip implement the necessary logic and frame buffering that allow the two image sensors to be merged into one ISP bus.

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