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13MP MIPI-CSI2 cam plugs into Variscite i.MX8M board

Aug 14, 2019 — by Eric Brown 1,434 views

E-con has launched a 13-megapixel, 4-lane MIPI-CSI2 “e-CAM130_iMX8M” camera designed to work with Variscite’s DART-MX8M eval kit. Future models will support Variscite’s i.MX8M Mini, i.MX8X and i.MX8 QuadMax based boards.

E-con Systems announced a collaboration with embedded board vendor Variscite to provide cameras optimized for its Linux-driven, NXP i.MX8-powered compute modules. For starters, E-con has launched a $199 e-CAM130_iMX8M camera that connects to the evaluation kit for Variscite’s i.MX8M-equipped DART-MX8M module.

e-CAM130_iMX8M baseboard and adapter boards (left) and connected to Variscite’s DART-MX8M eval kit
(click images to enlarge)

Future collaborations will include a camera designed for the similarly quad-core, Cortex-A53 based i.MX8M Mini SoC, as deployed on Variscite’s DART-MX8M-Mini dev kit. This will be followed by a model for the VAR-SOM-MX8X, which runs on the quad-core, Cortex-A35 i.MX8X.

Finally, there will be cameras that plug into the dev kits for the VAR-SOM-MX8 and SPEAR-MX8 modules, which are based on the top-of-the-line, Cortex-A53 and -A72 powered i.MX8 QuadMax. Since the MIPI-CSI2 enabled serial camera connector (J11) that the camera extension board plugs into is the same on all of Variscite’s i.MX8-based dev boards, the only difference will be a new V4L2 Linux driver for each host platform.

DART-MX8M, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

The initial e-CAM130_iMX8M camera kit has a single e-CAM130_MI1335_MOD camera module on a baseboard that connects via micro-coaxial cable to an adapter board. This in turn plugs into the DART-MX8M Evaluation Kit (VAR-DT8MCustomBoard).


The e-CAM130_MI1335_MOD module uses the same 13MP AR1335 color CMOS image sensor from ON Semiconductor found on E-con’s 3-camera e-CAM120_TRICUTX2 and robotics focused, 4-cam e-CAM130_CUXVR kits. These MIPI-CSI2 camera kits plug into the dev kits for Nvidia’s Jetson TX2 and Jetson AGX Xavier modules, respectively.

The 1/3.2″ AR1335 is an autofocus sensor with 4700 e/lux-sec responsivity, 37 dB SNR, 69 dB dynamic range, and an electronic rolling shutter. The e-CAM130_iMX8M also comes with a high-performance Image Signal Processor (ISP) that performs Auto functions including autofocus, auto white balance, and auto exposure control. The camera can stream at 1080p@60fps as well as 4K@15fps.

Color segmentation data flow on e-CAM130_iMX8M and DART-MX8M
(click image to enlarge)

As usual, E-con provides a Linux driver (V4L2) and a sample app with source code. A YouTube video shows how the camera performs color segmentation, which can be used for applications including color detection for traffic light detecton, cloud detection in satellite imaging, and object detection in machine vision. The camera can also be used for high-end industrial systems, vision systems, HMI, videoconferencing, and augmented reality, says E-con.

Variscite’s 55 x 30mm DART-MX8M module offers Linux and Android BSPs for the i.MX8M. It ships with up to 4GB LPDDR4, up to 64GB eMMC, WiFi-ac, and Bluetooth 4.2.

DART-MX8M eval kit with VAR-DT8MCustomBoard (left) and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

The VAR-DT8MCustomBoard carrier that forms the basis of the DART-MX8M eval kit offers GbE, HDMI 2.0a, and DP 1.3 ports plus an LVDS interface with optional touchscreens. You also get a microSD slot, 2x mini-PCIe slots, and 3x USB 3.0 ports including a Type-C. For more details on both the module and carrier, see our earlier DART-MX8M report.

Further information

The e-CAM130_iMX8M is available for $199 in single quantities, including the cable, but not counting the cost of Variscite’s DART-MX8M eval kit, which starts at $299. More information may be found on E-con Systems’ e-CAM130_iMX8M product page.

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