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CSI kit for the RPi CM3 has FPGA for camera control

Jun 19, 2020 — by Eric Brown 1,807 views

Vision Components’ $335 “VC Embedded Vision Kit CMI” for the Raspberry Pi Compute Module offers GbE, USB, 2x CSI, and an FPGA. It defaults to a 1MP, 120fps Omnivision module but supports up to 20MP modules

German embedded vision vendor Vision Components has launched an adapter board for its VC MIPI camera modules that supports the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3 or 3+. Designed for industrial-grade embedded vision systems,” the VC Embedded Vision Kit CMI is built around a VC Compute Module Interface Board with 2x MIPI-CSI-2 connectors that enable independent video inputs or stereo vision. The board is equipped with a programmable FPGA for individual image acquisition controls such as triggering.

VC Embedded Vision Kit CMI front and back with RPi CM3 module
(click image to enlarge)

The VC Embedded Vision Kit CMI defaults to a 299 Euro ($335.50) package (or 355.81 Euros with tax) equipped with OmniVision’s OV9281 image sensor. This 1-megapixel (1280 x 800), 120fps global shutter camera includes a driver for sensor control. Customers can optionally replace it with one of more than 30 VC MIPI camera modules, including up to 20MP models with global shutter, global reset shutter, or rolling shutter functionality.

Barebones VC Compute Module Interface Board, front and back (left) and rear view showing camera on S-mount holder
(click images to enlarge)

The kit’s 125 x 57 x 30 mm VC Compute Module Interface Board is equipped with GbE and USB ports, serial and display interfaces, 4-in-4-out DIO, and a microSD slot. The board provides a trigger input and flash trigger output, a 60mm FPC (flexible printed circuit) MIPI-CSI camera cable, and an S-mount/M12 lens holder.

VC Compute Module Interface Board detail views (left) and VP MIPI module, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

Other features include an LED ring light with a rated power of up to 2x 1.5A, which is powered and controlled by the integrated lighting controller. The 12-24V board supports -20 to 60°C temperatures.

The programmable FPGA enables customer-specific adjustments of image acquisition and trigger functionality. As the default setting, an external trigger signal is sent synchronously to the two MIPI modules.

More VC Compute Module Interface Board detail views
(click images to enlarge)

Vision Components, which we last covered back in 2014 when it launched a line of Xilinx Zynq-based machine vision cameras including the VCSBC nano Z, offers its VC MIPI modules with drivers for the Raspberry Pi 3B, 3B+, 4B, and Zero in addition to the CM3/3+. It also provides drivers for Nvidia’s Jetson Nano TX2, and AGX Xavier. An NXP i.MX8 driver is in the works.


The modules are claimed to support other Arm/Linux SBCs that do not show up on the driver list. These include Rockchip based boards like the Asus Tinkerboard and Vamrs’ Rock960, Qualcomm Snapdragon boards like Arrow’s DragonBoards, NXP i.MX6 SBCs like the HummingBoard Pro, and Zynq-powered boards such as the Ultra96, among others. (All these SBCs may be found in our catalog of 136 Linux hacker boards.)

Further information

The VC Embedded Vision Kit CMI starts at 299 Euros ($335.50), not including tax, with a 1MP sensor, ranging up to 660 Euros ($740.58) with higher-end sensors. More information may be found in Vision Components‘ announcement, which we discovered by way of a IMV Europe report, as well as the product and Notavis shopping pages.

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