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Embedded vision cams use MIPI-CSI and USB3 Vision to hook up with Linux dev boards

Feb 8, 2019 — by Eric Brown 1,990 views

Allied Vision’s Alvium embedded cameras include 1500 (MIPI-CSI) and 1800 (CSI and USB3) models, both with On Semi sensors at up to 2592 × 1944 and V4L2 drivers that support Jetson and i.MX6/8 dev boards.

In November, Allied Vision Technologies GmbH announced its Linux-friendly Alvium 1500 and Alvium 1800 embedded and machine vision camera series. Now shipping in volume, the Alvium 1500 supports MIPI-CSI-2 interfaces and the Alvium 1800 supports MIPI-CSI-2 and USB3 Vision.

Alvium camera with open frame housing (left) and attached to a Linux development board
(click images to enlarge)

The Alvium 1500 family “combines the advantages of classic machine vision cameras with the advantages of embedded sensor modules,” says Germany based Allied Vision, which is a part of TKH Group. It comprises four models with different ON Semiconductors sensors. The highest end model is a 1500 C-500 SKU with an AR0521 sensor that enables 2592 × 1944 @ 60fps resolution.

The same AR0521 sensor is used on the sole Alvium 1800 model, which is equipped with a more advanced feature set for image correction and optimization. A single MIPI-CSI-2 driver is used for all Alvium models, making it easy “to swap cameras or upgrade a system to another sensor,” says the company.

Alvium models
(click image to enlarge)

The cameras are based on a previously announced Alvium vision processor, which enables “the configuration of image pre-processing functionalities …directly on the Image Signal Processor in the camera,” says Allied Vision. This on-chip processing, which is enabled by an Image Processing Library (IPL), offloads processing tasks from an embedded system’s main processor.

Alvium SoC (left) and PCB with sensor

The Alvium 1500 and 1800 support 0.5 to 5-megapixel cameras, but the Alvium SoC supports between 0.3 to 21-megapixels, thereby providing a path for future migration. The SoC also supports Sony sensors, which should be available in future models.


Because the SoC uses ASIC technology rather than the FPGAs used on many machine vision cameras, it’s more power efficient, claims Allied Vision. Intelligent power management is said to further optimize power consumption.

The Alvium SoC is housed on a 27 x 27mm module, which is available in bare board, open housing, or closed housing configurations. Both camera lines support C-Mount, CS-Mount, or S/M12-Mount standards.

Alvium in bare board and open housing configurations (left) and different mounting options
(click images to enlarge)

The cameras ship with open source, Linux-focused Video4Linux2 (V4L2) or GStreamer drivers. Applications that require more comprehensive camera controls can use Direct Register Access (DRA). The Alvium 1800 also supports GenICam for camera control.

The Alvium cameras can plug into Linux development boards based on the NXP i.MX6 SoC, and drivers for i.MX8 and i.MX8M are in the works. The Alvium series also supports Arm/Tegra based Nvidia Jetson TX2 modules. Thanks to a partnership with Antmicro, the cameras will soon support the latest Jetson Xavier. (E-Con recently announced a Xavier-based e-CAM130_CUXVR camera kit, which is primarily aimed at robotics.)

Further information

The Alvium 1500 and Alvium 1800 cameras are available now with pricing undisclosed. More information may be found on Allied Vision’s Alvium product page.

Allied Vision recently announced that the cameras have been nominated for an Embedded World Embedded Award in the Embedded Vision category, with winners to be announce at the upcoming Embedded World conference in Nuremberg, Feb. 26-28. Check them out at Hall 3A, booth #418.

(advertise here)

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