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Adam Taylor’s MicroZed Chronicles: More about Aldec’s TySOM Zynq-based Proto board

Xilinx Employee
Xilinx Employee
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By Adam Taylor


So far, we have examined the FPGA hardware build for the Aldec TySOM-2 FPGA Prototyping board example in Vivado, which is a straightforward example of a simple image-processing chain. This hardware design allows an image to be received, stored in DDR SDRAM attached to the Zynq SoC’s PS, and then output to an HDMI display. What the hardware design at the Vivado level does not do is perform any face-detection functions. And to be honest, why would it?


With the input and output paths of the image-processing pipeline defined, we can use the untapped resources of the Zynq SoC’s PL and PS/PL interconnects to create the application at a higher level. We need to use SDSoC to do this, which allows us to develop our design using a higher-level language like C or C++ and then move the defined functionality from the PS into the PL—to accelerate that function.


The Vivado design we examined last week forms an SDSoC Platform, which we can use with the Linux operating system to implement the final design. The use of Linux allows us to use OpenCV within the Zynq SoC’s PS cores to support creation of the example design. If we develop with the new Xilinx reVISION stack, we can go even further and accelerate some of the OpenCV functions.


The face-detection example supplied with the TySOM-2 board implements face detection using a Pixel Intensity Comparison-based Object (PICO) detection framework developed by N Markus et al. The PICO framework scans the image with a cascade of binary classifiers. This PICO-based approach permits more efficient implementations that do not require the computation of integral images, HOG Pyramids, etc.


In this example, we need to define a frame buffer within the device tree blob to allow the Linux application to access the images stored within the Zynq SoC’s PS DDR SDRAM. The Linux application then uses “Video for Linux 2” (V4L2) to access this frame buffer and to allow further processing.







Once we get an image frame from the frame buffer, the software application can process it. The application will do the following things:


  1. Receive the input frame from the DDR SDRAM frame buffer using the V4L2 Linux Driver.
  2. Convert the input frame YUV4:2:2 format as received by the Blue Eagle camera into grey scale. This conversion extracts the Lumina component as the greyscale value.
  3. Perform the PICO object detection on the greyscale frame.
  4. Perform Sobel edge detection on the faces detected within the PICO object detector output.
  5. Perform further YUV to RGB conversion on the original received image frame.
  6. Use the OpenCV Circle function to highlight detected faces.
  7. Output the image to the HDMI port in the RGBA 8:8:8:8 format using the libdrm library within the Linux OS.


Looking at the above functions, not all of them can be accelerated in to the hardware. In this example, the conversion from YUV to greyscale, Sobel Edge Detection, and YUV-to-RGB conversion can be accelerated using the PL to increase performance.


Moving these functions into the PL is as easy as selecting the two functions we wish to accelerate with hardware and then clicking on build to create the example.  







Once this was completed, the algorithm ran as expected using both the PS and PL in the Zynq SoC.






Using this approach allows us to exploit both the Zynq SoC’s PL and PS for image processing without the need to implement a fixed RTL design in Vivado. In short, this ability allows us to use a known good platform design to implement image capture and display across several different applications. Meanwhile, the use of SDSoC also allows us to exploit the Zynq SoC’s PL at a higher level without the need to develop the HDL from scratch, reducing development time.



My code is available on Github as always.


If you want E book or hardback versions of previous MicroZed chronicle blogs, you can get them below.




  • First Year E Book here
  • First Year Hardback here.



MicroZed Chronicles hardcopy.jpg 



  • Second Year E Book here
  • Second Year Hardback here


MicroZed Chronicles Second Year.jpg 



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