Wednesday, April 06, 2005

FPGAs *and* Linux?! Be Still My Beating Heart

This article hits so many of my geeky buttons (there's a helluva image). This is an blurb about a network-connected camera that runs on embedded Linux and uses an FPGA for its video processing.

Linux (specifically uCLinux) is used to control all the functions of the camera (ethernet, video streaming, etc.) running on an Axis SoC. Unfortunately, an embedded general-purpose microcontroller just doesn't have the horsepower to run a software encoder for the raw image data coming from the CCD. To solve that problem, Elphel tossed a .09-micron Spartan FPGA on the controller's memory bus. The logic designers then wrote an encoder for the open-source, royalty- free Ogg Theora video codec.

Then they released it all (including the Verilog HDL for the FPGA!). How sweet is that? This is a must-read for all the geeks who read my blog.. so basically, all 3 of you who read it.. :-)

Build an Ogg Theora camera using an FPGA and embedded Linux

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James said...

Man, I just had to clean my keyboard over that one.... Too bad that codec is in Verilog instead of VHDL ;-). Speaking of, I was informed (yet again) at work that hardware description languages are a really crappy way to design hardware, and that schematic entry is the only way to design anything that is decently fast. Imagine doing that codec gate-by-gate.....

Raj said...

Schematic entry may be a better way, but when you're talking a few hundred man-hours for something like a FIFO, there's problems..

hell, how long did our "encryption" chip take? And it didnt even work :-)