Programmable Systems on Modules: The ‘New Kid’ on the Embedded Block

Programmable Systems on Modules: The ‘New Kid’ on the Embedded Block

Phil Duff - Lead Consultant, Signal Processing

By: Phil Duff
Lead Consultant, Signal Processing

1st November 2017

Home » Phil Duff

As an engineer specialising in high performance real-time embedded systems, I appreciate great ideas, but in the back of my mind I’m always asking “How can we make it a reality?” and “How can we get it off the drawing board?”

One of the technologies I have been an evangelist of is the new breed of programmable system on chip (PSoC) devices. These can often be used in the form of readily accessible Programmable System on Modules (SoM) but first; let’s quickly take a step back.

For more than 20 years of signal processing, I have seen logic-based signal processing combined with Central Processing Units (CPUs) to produce powerful solutions. All this is now delivered from a single central device.

The performance and capability are now both better than ever before and the power consumption is down, however, the complexity is still there. Regardless, these devices comprise of CPU cores and field-programmable gate array (FPGA) logic, both of which are highly programmable.

Fortunately, many vendors now provide SoMs to host these devices, together with their much-needed essentials, such as memory, power supplies, Ethernet and USB ports.

The SoM is hosted on a carrier board. The SoM vendors usually provide development boards which are very useful starting points. We typically start on one of these development boards before building a custom carrier that is specific to the product’s requirements. The PSoC and SoM also allow very flexible interfacing capabilities of programmable logic, interfacing so that almost anything can be realised.

I have seen some applications where the FPGA element is simply used to assist with interfacing, but in others it has been used for high-performance digital signal processing. The latter of which is my domain, and I thoroughly approve!

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

As an engineer specialising in high performance real-time embedded systems, I appreciate great ideas, but in the back of my mind I’m always asking “How can we make it a reality?” and “How can we get it off the drawing board?”

One of the technologies I have been an evangelist of is the new breed of programmable system on chip (PSoC) devices. These can often be used in the form of readily accessible Programmable System on Modules (SoM) but first; let’s quickly take a step back.

For more than 20 years of signal processing, I have seen logic-based signal processing combined with CPUs to produce powerful solutions. All this is now delivered from a single central device.

The performance and capability are now both better than ever before and the power consumption is down, however, the complexity is still there. Regardless, these devices comprise of CPU cores and field-programmable gate array (FPGA) logic, both of which are highly programmable.

Fortunately, many vendors now provide SoMs to host these devices, together with their much-needed essentials, such as memory, power supplies, Ethernet and USB ports.

The SoM is hosted on a carrier board. The SoM vendors usually provide development boards which are very useful starting points. We typically start on one of these development boards before building a custom carrier that is specific to the product’s requirements. The PSoC and SoM also allow very flexible interfacing capabilities of programmable logic, interfacing so that almost anything can be realised.

I have seen some applications where the FPGA element is simply used to assist with interfacing, but in others it has been used for high-performance digital signal processing. The latter of which is my domain, and I thoroughly approve!

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save