For fast time to market and optimal flexibility, an FPGA might be a good choice. For high-volume applications requiring the ultimate in performance in a low-power, compact package, an ASIC or ASSP might be a better alternative. In an effort to deliver the best of both worlds, Lattice Semiconductor has created a new class of product it calls the programmable ASSP, which it has trademarked pASSP.
In a phone interview, C.H. Chee, senior director of consumer product marketing at Lattice, said the first member of the new product family is the CrossLink programmable bridging device, which offers chip-to-chip embedded video bridging for cameras and displays that may have incompatible inputs and outputs or an insufficient number of inputs and outputs. The device can find use in virtual-reality headsets, drones, smartphones, tablets, cameras, wearable devices, and human-machine interfaces (HMIs).
The CrossLink device can serve as a MIPI D-PHY bridging device that delivers up to 4K UHD resolution at 12-Gb/s bandwidth. It supports popular mobile, camera, display, and legacy interfaces such as MIPI D-PHY, MIPI CSI-2, MIPI DSI, MIPI DPI, SPI, SubLVDS, and LVDS. Chee said it offers the industry’s lowest power programmable bridging functionality in active mode and includes a built-in sleep mode.
“The latest wave of image capture and display technology, including drones and VR, is creating real industry excitement,” said Carl Hibbert, associate director of entertainment content and delivery, Futuresource Consulting, in a press release. “Combining these new technologies with a global base of 3.7 billion smartphones and tablets that’s set to rise more than 30% by 2020 all equates to a wide variety of interfaces that must be integrated to ensure compatibility. The ability to manage these interfaces through a low cost, low power, and small footprint bridging solution is essential.”
Lattice’s CrossLink bridge can multiplex, merge, and arbitrate between multiple image sensors to a single input. The device can also interface between high-end industrial and popular A/V image sensors with mobile application processors.
CrossLink device can receive video data from one MIPI DSI interface and send it out over two MIPI DSI interfaces at half the bandwidth. The same video stream can be split to two interfaces, making it suitable for use in virtual reality headsets and mobile set top boxes. Customers can also integrate consumer and industrial panels with RGB or LVDS interfaces with mobile applications processors. The CrossLink bridge can convert from MIPI DSI to multiple lanes of CMOS or LVDS interfaces such as MIPI DPI, OpenLDI, and proprietary interface formats for HMIs, smart displays, and smart homes.
Chee added, “Our product has a variety of applications for high-volume growth segments that demand fast, flexible innovation and solves the pressing challenge of having too many incompatible interfaces on one device.”
Chee said the device can serve any end product using image sensors and displays, including mobile applications (wearables, DSC/DSLR cameras, smartphones, tablets, and drones) as well as traditional applications (surveillance systems, medical equipment, and machine-vision systems).
CrossLink evaluation boards are available now from Lattice and its distributors, and production devices will be available shortly.
For information on Lattice’s approach to sensor interfacing, look for our June print edition, which went to press before today’s announcement of the CrossLink device.