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i.MX8M Mini Pico-ITX board has a DSP for voice control plus optional AI

Apr 6, 2020 — by Eric Brown 4,018 views

Estone’s “EMB-2237-AI” Pico-ITX SBC integrates a “SOM-2237” module that runs Linux on an i.MX8M Mini and adds a DSP for audio. The carrier adds LAN with PoE, MIPI-DSI and -CSI, mics and speakers, and an M.2 slot with Edge TPU AI support.

Estone Technology’s EMB-2237-AI is the first SBC we’ve seen to combine the 100 x 72mm Pico-ITX form-factor with an NXP i.MX8M Mini SoC. Other Mini-based SBCs include Seco’s SBC-C61, Boardcon’s sandwich-style EM-IMX8M-MINI, and Garz & Fricke’s recent Tanaro, among others.

EMB-2237-AI, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

Unlike Estone’s i.MX8M-based EMB-2238 Pico-ITX SBC, the EMB-2237-AI is a sandwich-style model built around a compute module. Estone’s SOM-2237 module, which currently lacks its own product page, is equipped with NXP’s dual- or quad-core i.MX8M Mini. This up to 1.8GHz Cortex-A53 SoC has a Cortex-M4 MCU plus Vivante 3D and 2D GPUs with HD video support. There are instructions for building a Yocto-based Linux image plus support for Android 9.

The SOM-2237 module adds a separate, low-power Cirrus Logic CS47L24 digital signal processor. This dual-core 300MHz DSP integrates an audio hub codec embedded with SoundClear voice control technology.


The SOM-2237 is further equipped with 2GB to 4GB LPDDR4 and 8GB iNAND, which is listed as “default.” The block diagram suggests a possible option to expand with eMMC.

EMB-2237-AI block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

The EMB-2237-AI carrier board adds a microSD slot, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi with Bluetooth 4.0, and a 10/100Mbps Ethernet port with a Power-over-Ethernet module. There’s also a 12V DC jack, which the block diagram identifies as a 9-36V input.

Other coastline ports include 2x USB 2.0 host and a single USB Type-C OTG port. Internally, there are more USB headers plus serial and GPIO.

EMB-2237-AI detail view
(click image to enlarge)

Imaging features include 4-lane MIPI-DSI and a similarly HD-ready dual-channel LVDS with 24-bit RGB interface that supports optional Estone LCD touch-panels. There’s also a 4-lane MIPI-CSI camera connector.

Audio features that feed off the Cirrus Logic DSP and the i.MX8 family’s extensive digital audio support include a dual digital MEMS mic header. There are also various line-out and speaker interfaces.

Google M.2 Accelerator A+E key module with Edge TPU
(click image to enlarge)

The AI part of the EMB-2237-AI name stems from the M.2 E-key socket, which supports an optional, 4-TOPS Google Edge TPU AI accelerator. This appears to be Google’s $35 M.2 Accelerator A+E key module, which was introduced with a B+M key model. These M.2 modules followed an earlier Mini PCIe Accelerator that was announced along with Google’s original, Edge TPU-enabled Coral Dev Board.

Specifications listed for the EMB-2237-AI include:

  • Processor (via SOM-2237 module) — NXP i.MX8M Mini Dual or Quad (2x or 4x Cortex-A53 @ up to 1.8GHz) with GCNanoUltra GPU for 3D, GC320 for 2D, and Cortex-M4F @ 400MHz; Cirrus Logic CS47L24 (2x 300MHz DSP cores)
  • Memory/storage:
    • 2GB or 4GB LPDDR4 RAM (via SOM-2237)
    • 8GB iNAND flash with possible iNAND or eMMC expansion (via SOM-2237)
    • MicroSD slot
  • Networking/wireless:
    • 10/100 Ethernet port with IEEE 802.3af compliant PoE
    • Ampak AP6212 with 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0
  • Media I/O:
    • Dual-channel, 24-bit LVDS/RGB
    • I2C touch interface for optional 5- to 10.1-inch touch panels
    • 4-lane MIPI-DSI at up to 1920 x 1200
    • 4-lane MIPI-CSI
    • 2x I2C for touch and CSI
    • 2x digital MEMS mic inputs
    • 2x line-out
    • 2x amplified line-out (1.5W)
    • Mono Class D speaker out (2W)
    • SAI input
  • Other I/O:
    • USB 2.0 host ports
    • Micro-USB 2.0 Type-C OTG port
    • 2x USB 2.0 headers
    • 4x GPIO
    • RS-232/RS-485 header
    • Serial debug console header
  • Expansion — M.2 E-key socket that supports optional Google M.2 Accelerator A+E key module with 4-TOPS Edge TPU
  • Other features — RTC with battery; watchdog; boot button with multiple boot options
  • Power — 12V DC input (possible 9-36V support) or 5V via PoE
  • Operating temperature — 0 to 60°C; 5 to 95% @ 40°C non-condensing humidity tolerance
  • Dimensions – 100 x 72mm (Pico-ITX form factor)
  • Operating system — Yocto based Linux with kernel 4.14, Qt, Wayland; Android 9; supports Amazon AVS (Alexa Voice Service) Device SDK and Sensory TrulyHandsfree Wake Word Engine

Further information

No pricing or availability information was provided for the EMB-2237-AI. More information may be found on Estone Technology’s product page and wiki.


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One response to “i.MX8M Mini Pico-ITX board has a DSP for voice control plus optional AI”

  1. jeanmarc78000 says:

    price ?

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