Module Embeds Vision And Control Algorithms Onto FPGAs

A new Module Embeds Vision And Control Algorithms Onto FPGAs, developed by National Instruments, offers a high-performance parallel-processing architecture for hardware-defined timing, control, and image pre-processing.

The NI 1483 Camera Link adapter module, in combination with an NI FlexRIO FPGA board, offers a solution for embedding vision and control algorithms directly on FPGAs. Engineers can take advantage of FPGAs to process and analyse an image in real time with little to no CPU intervention. They can use FPGAs to perform operations by pixel, line, and region of interest. The FPGAs are able to implement many inherently parallel image-processing algorithms, including fast Fourier transforms (FFTs), thresholding, and filtering. In addition, using FPGAs helps eliminate the need to design custom hardware.

"We see the speed and flexibility of FPGAs as a crucial technology to perform intensive image processing at high speeds," says James Cotton, a Graduate Researcher in Neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine. “NI LabVIEW FPGA graphical programming tools along with NI FlexRIO FPGA hardware for PXI technology, allowed us to quickly develop a high-quality eye tracking solution that can resolve fixation position to within tenths of a degree at up to 500Hz.” 

The NI 1483 is a good fit for optical coherence tomography (OCT) and high-speed control systems for applications such as laser alignment and sorting. The module is also suitable for acquisition from Camera Link devices with custom tap configurations and high-resolution sensors measuring more than 10 Mpixels that require hardware-based pre-processing.

The new module supports base-, medium- and full-configuration Camera Link devices as well as 80-bit, 10-tap configurations, all up to 85MHz. This design gives engineers the ability to customise the image acquisition when using custom image sensors. The 85MHz measurement supports the Camera Link standardised specification to its fullest, creating an excellent fit for those working on applications with high frame rates.

The module also integrates several I/O options, including four TTL I/O lines, two optoisolated inputs, and one quadrature encoder input, in addition to the many modular I/O and industrial communication options available for the PXI platform.

The NI FlexRIO hardware can be customised using the LabVIEW FPGA Module without knowledge of low-level hardware description languages or board-level design.

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