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1080p60 video camera, upgradeable to 4K, uses Artix-7 FPGA for video processing, modular sensor interface

Xilinx Employee
Xilinx Employee
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The SUB2r Alpha 1080p60 video camera, designed from the start as a modular camera that could accept a variety of imaging sensors (including 4K sensors) and lensing systems, employs a Xilinx Artix-7 FPGA to implement a flexible, configurable video-processing chain and the several required sensor interfaces.



SUB2r Alpha Video Camera.jpg 


SUB2r Modular 1080p60 Video Camera based on a Xilinx Artix-7 FPGA




SUB2r’s stated design philosophy for the Alpha camera is a design manifesto for all designers considering the use of Xilinx All Programmable devices:


“At SUB2r we made a conscious decision to not follow the standard formula for hardware. Crunch it down to an ASIC with locked functions, make it inaccessible, make it cheap, build in obsolescence. Instead, we built an upgradeable imaging platform that will evolve and grow. The design is purposely forward looking. As we add more advanced camera options, there is no need to buy a new camera, simply swap the camera board. As we add on-board functionality, the firmware can be upgraded by the end user.”


Here’s a graphic from the SUB2r Web site that simply and graphically illustrates this modular, platform-based design philosophy enabled by the use of the Artix-7 FPGA:



SUB2r Alpha Camera Modular Design Philosophy.jpg



SUB2r Alpha Video Camera Modular Design Philosophy



The SUB2r Alpha camera derives part of its modularity from the use of any pin-compatible member of the Artix-7 FPGA family. Although the initial design of the SUB2r Alpha camera uses an Artix-7 A100T device, Neumann says, “We chose this as we can OEM configure anything from an A15T to an A200T with no board change.”


Like many design teams, SUB2r’s team sees the wide pin compatibility of the Artix-7 FPGA family as a platform enabler for an entire product line, not merely a part to be used to implement a single product. As SUB2r founder Richard Neumann says in the video below, “We’re not building just another Webcam. At SUB2r, we’re building an open-architecture streaming video platform.”





However, it would be a mistake to think of the SUB2r Alpha video camera as “merely” a Webcam. As the following video illustrates, the SUB2r camera has many applications, including motion capture.





Note: This video is from Richard Neumann’s other company, 2r1y, which is developing “precise” illumination. With or without the precise illumination, you can use the SUB2r video camera in a mind-boggling number of video applications including:


  • Security
  • Gaming
  • Sports Analytics
  • Virtual Reality
  • Augmented Reality
  • Smart TVs
  • Biometrics
  • Set Top Boxes
  • Robotics / Drones
  • Automotive Controls
  • Automotive Navigation
  • Structured Light 3D Depth Mapping



2r1y created the Alpha video camera to support the development of these applications and, as people learned of the camera and inquired about its availability, decided that the modular video camera was an excellent product on its own.


You cannot buy a SUB2r video camera today, but you can reserve one with planned delivery next month. No obligation. Click here.


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