ADL in Embedded Systems Engineering

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The Eyes of the IoT Rely on Processor Innovation

Manufacturers are increasingly using connected nodes to monitor production on the factory floor, as well as for surveillance, traffic, and retail applications.

Seeking processing power that can boost IoT board and blade performance, manufacturers are eagerly integrating ‘upgrades’ in microarchitecture.

Earlier this year ADL Embedded announced the ADLVIS-1700 CoaXPress/CameraLink vision system. The prototype debuted at Embedded World, in Nuremberg, Germany. At 5.0 x 7.0 x 7.6-inch, it is claimed to be the smallest CoaXPress system in the industry. It consists of a CoaXPress board inside the vision box (see Figure 1). The company has used the small PCIe/104 form factor, and believes it is the first to do so.

The new, low-power versions of the high-end 64-bit Intel Core processors offer a highly configurable Thermal Design Power (TDP) of 15W.

Compact and Connected
Both the ADLVIS-1700-CL Camera Link configuration and the ADLVIS-1700-CXP CoaXPress configuration are based on an Intel architecture (formerly known as Skylake) central processing unit (CPU), the QM87HD Intel® Core™ 6th Generation i7-4700EQ with 8GB DRAM. At Embedded World, the company explained that Skylake combines security with hardware level TPM 2.0 encryption technology and power virtualization capabilities. The vision system also brings the speed and resolution that has only been available on desktop Personal Computers (PCs) and larger devices to this small form factor.

Figure 1: The ADLVIS-1700 Vision System comprises a CoaXPress and Camera Link technologies.

Figure 1: The ADLVIS-1700 Vision System comprises a CoaXPress and Camera Link technologies.

The CL has a PCIe x16 EPIX Camera Link card, and the CXP configuration has PCIe x16 Euresys two-port CoaXPress framegrabber. There are four removable Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (SATA) drives (two SATA II and two SATA III) in each, and a single cable to provide power while sending data up to 300 feet. Transfer speed is 1200MB per second for image capture and storage. Target applications include 3D machine vision for factory automation, hyperspectral and multi-spectral imaging, traffic surveillance, security monitoring and control, military and defense Intelligence, Security and Reconnaissance (ISR), unmanned drone vision, and high frame-rate motion analysis and recording.

Industrial Controls
The company also uses dual and quad core Intel E3800-Atom processor options in the ADLEPC-1500embedded PC, which is designed for unmanned systems, industrial controls, and robotics.

The compact PC measures 1.3 x 3.4 x 3.2 inches and has a wide voltage range of 20 to 30 VDC, a 24V nominal input (optional 7.0 to 36V) a temperature range of -20 to +50°C, and an extended range of
-40 to +70 °C, for operation in a variety of harsh environments.

The PC is based on the ADLE3800SEC Single Board Computer (SBC), shown in Figure 2, with either the dual core Intel Atom E3800-3827 or quad core Intel Atom™ E3800-3845 low-power processors to support DirectX 11, Open GL 4.0 and full High Definition (HD) video playback. There is also on-board DisplayPort, USB 3.0, USB 2.0, M.2 KeyB 2242 SATA, and two Local Area Network (LAN) ports.

Figure 2: The ADLE3800SEC SBC has dual and quad core Intel Atom E3800 options to support graphics technologies.

Figure 2: The ADLE3800SEC SBC has dual and quad core Intel Atom E3800 options to support graphics technologies.

Another company, ADLINK Technology, Inc., also uses the former Skylake 6th generation Intel processor for its cPCI-6630 CompactPCI processor blade, which targets Industrial IoT applications in factories, industrial automation, and security systems (Figure 3).

Figure 3: The ADLINK cPCI-6630 is small and uses 6th generation Intel processing technology to support graphics and connectivity for Industry 4.0.

Figure 3: The ADLINK cPCI-6630 is small and uses 6th generation Intel processing technology to support graphics and connectivity for Industry 4.0.

This also breaks ground, as it is believed to be the first CompactPCI blade with the 6th generation Core i7 processor in a 6U form factor. The blade integrates the quad-core 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-6820EQ processor and Mobile Intel HM170 chipset, with up to 32-GB of dual-channel Double Data Rate Fourth Generation (DDR4), Small Outline, Dual Inline Memory Module (SO-DIMM) 2133 non-Error Correcting Code (ECC) memory. The blade supports a 64-bit/66MHz CompactPCI bus.

For imaging, the front panel I/O includes a Digital Visual Interface (DVI)-I and DVI-D port. DVI-I is for digital and analog signals, and DVI-D is for digital only signals. The front panel also has three Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) powers, three USB 3.0, one USB 2.0 and an RJ-45 COM port. For storage, there is a 2.5-inch SATA drive and a seven-pin SATA connector as well as onboard CFast and CompactFlash option.

The Intel Core i7-6820EQ processor supports the High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) video compression standard and the blade can support three independent displays when mated with ADLINK Technology cPCI-R6002 or cPCI-R6100 rear transition modules.

The blade requires 5V input, to provide value-per-Watt computing power required by industrial applications, says the company, with the computing performance of the Intel Core 6th generation processor for communications and monitoring.

Seventh Generation Processors

The next generation of Intel Core processors, formerly known as Kaby Lake, are exploited by congatec, in its industrial, Thin Mini-ITX motherboard, the conga-IC175.

Figure 4: The conga-IC175 targets IoT applications, and High Dynamic Range provides dramatic images.

Figure 4: The conga-IC175 targets IoT applications, and High Dynamic Range provides dramatic images.

This low-profile motherboard (Figure 4) features the 7th generation Intel Core U processors for IoT connected devices. It targets space-constrained, low-power IoT designs, with a Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) card socket for 3G, 4G, or NarrowBand connectivity.

With the selection of Intel Optane™ memory via an M.2 connector fast system boots, application starts, video recording and processing, and software updates are enabled, easing the throughput of IoT applications.

The Intel Core processors were chosen for use in embedded and IoT applications. Martin Danzer, Director, Product Management, congatec, said: “The new, low-power versions of the high-end 64-bit Intel Core processors offer a highly configurable Thermal Design Power (TDP) of 15W, with the flexibility to scale dissipation from 7.5W cTDP to 25W cTDP, for an exceptional balance of power and performance.”

The industrial grade, Thin Mini-ITX motherboard ships with four dual-core variants of 7th generation Intel Core U SoC processors. It also follows the trend for multiple displays, connecting to the DirectX 12-capable Intel HD Graphics 620 with up to three independent displays in 4k resolution at 60Hz via two DisplayPort (DP++) and embedded DisplayPort (eDP) or dual-channel Low Voltage Differential Signaling (LVDS). It also has HEVC support, while the addition of High Dynamic Range (HDR), makes video more vibrant for a lifelike image quality, giving texture and depth for surveillance and monitoring of areas or production lines.


hayes_caroline_115Caroline Hayes has been a journalist covering the electronics sector for more than 20 years. She has worked on several European titles, reporting on a variety of industries, including communications, broadcast and automotive.

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