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Cyclone V based imaging and AI kit offers Basler cams and Myriad X

Feb 4, 2020 — by Eric Brown — 498 views

Aries’ C-Vision-Kit runs Linux on an Arm/FPGA Cyclone V SoC via an “MCV” module. The dev board includes 2x GbE, 2x serial, 2x CAN, 3x PMOD, a Myriad X AI module, an adapter for 2x Basler Dart cameras, and an optional display.

Aries Embedded announced a design platform for artificial intelligence and industrial embedded vision based on an Intel (Altera) Cyclone V SoC. The sandwich-style C-Vision-Kit has an adapter card with a pair of LVDS-connected Basler Dart cameras for computer vision plus Intel’s Movidius Myriad X vision processor unit. The Cyclone V’s flexible FPGA fabric “enables customers to connect and control many different sensors and actuators,” including “optical line, position, orientation, and acceleration sensors, AD converters, cameras, and more,” says Aries.



C-Vision-Kit
(click images to enlarge)

The C-Vision-Kit incorporates Aries Embedded’s MCV module, based on the Cyclone V SoC, one of the first Linux-driven Arm/FPGA hybrid SoCs along with the Xilinx Zynq. Aries makes no mention of Linux on its C-Vision-Kit product page, but the MCV page says it ships with a Linux BSP with U-boot for the SoC’s 2x 800MHz Cortex A9 cores.

The MCV module appears to be identical to a Denx MCV module launched by Denx back in 2014. This was likely built by fellow German vendor Aries and rebranded. (Denx has long been a software-only Linux development firm.)

The 3.3V, 74 x 42mm MCV module offers four different FPGA options, ranging from an A2 model with 25K logic elements (LEs) and 36 DSP blocks, to an A6 version with 110K LEs and 87 DSP blocks. Each of these options is also available with an optional PCIe interface for the FPGA block (see SoC spec list image below).



Aries MCV (left) and MCV FPGA options
(click images to enlarge)

The MCV ships with 1GB of DDR3 RAM and 256MB of NAND flash, and unlike the old Denx version there’s also 4GB eMMC. Other features expressed via its dual Samtec B2B connectors include 143 FPGA signal, 66 HPS (i.e., Arm) signals, a clock distribution, and support for GbE, UART, CAN, SPI, I2C, and USB.


M100PF-equipped
M100PFEVP

The MCV module plugs into an MCVEVP development board that appears to be identical to the M100PFEVP eval board available for Aries’ new PolarFire SoC driven M100PF module. The MCVEVP is equipped with a microSD slot plus 2x Gigabit Ethernet ports, a micro-USB port, and 4x DB9 ports, including 2x UART and 2x CAN ports. The baseboard is further equipped with a TFT connector with an I2C-based touch controller, an HSMC extension connector, and 3x PMOD extension connectors.

Although you can presumably buy the MCV module with MCVEVP board as listed above, the C-Vision-Kit adds a special adapter board. The adapter has a mini-PCIe slot for the Myriad X module and FPGA-driven HSMC connectors for the 2x Basler Dart cameras.

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There are several types of Basler Dart cameras, including USB and newer MIPI-CSI-2 connected models. Like the dev kit for Critical Link’s Cyclone V SoC based MitySOM-5CSx module, the C-Vision-Kit supports the LVDS models. Aries did not detail any specs for the cameras, but the Basler models available on Critical Link’s imaging kit use e2v and ON Semiconductor CMOS sensors with resolutions of 1.2- to 5-megapixels and up to 60fps video.



C-Vision-Kit block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

Finally, the C-Vision-Kit’s adapter board provides an HDMI port for an optional, 7-inch touchscreen. (The block diagram is a bit misleading since it shows this MxxDK display kit as connecting to the MCVEVP baseboard.) The 800 x 480-pixel backlit display uses capacitive touch technology.

In explaining why Aries Embedded chose the Cyclone V SoC for the kit, Andreas Widder, Aries Managing Director, noted the Arm architecture’s power efficiency and ability to be used in a decentralized manner. “Many AI applications run on rather power-hungry x86 architectures that are expensive, complex, and not universally applicable with high power dissipation,” stated Widder. “The FPGA also offers great flexibility to connect and control many different sensors and actuators.”

 
Further information

No pricing or availability information was provided for the C-Vision-Kit. More information may be found on Aries Embedded’s C-Vision-Kit product page.

Aries will show off the product at Embedded World 2020, stand 441 in hall 3A from Feb. 25-27, in Nuremberg, Germany.

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