Field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) or complex programmable logic devices (CPLDs), and their analog counterpart, field programmable analog arrays (FPAAs), are replacing application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs), application-specific standard products (ASSPs), microcontrollers or digital signal processors (DSPs) in many applications. Here are five products that show why.
3D IMAGES FROM DVD
Sensio 3D Processor (http://rbi.ims.ca/4388-549). There is no need to put on the red-and-blue cardboard glasses to view high-quality 3D-encoded DVDs with a DVD player plugged into this device. Using LCD-based wireless viewing glasses, the processor alternatively displays left and right stereo images every 1/16 sec and synchronously communicates to the shutters in the viewing glasses, creating the 3D effect for the viewer. The design uses Xilinx Spartan programmable FPGAs for the central processing capability. Among other features, the FPGA has embedded 18 × 18 multipliers to support high-performance DSP applications and an 18 Kbyte Block RAM that can be used as buffer memory or cache digital on-chip termination eliminating multiple external resistors. For more information on Xilinx Spartan-3 FPGAs, go to http://rbi.ims.ca/4388-550.
ANALOG AND DIGITAL VIDEO EDITING
Pinnacle Systems Studio MovieBox Deluxe (http://rbi.ims.ca/4388-551). The video editing system imports multiple video formats from both analog and digital sources into a personal computer for editing with Pinnacle designed software. Since the device only needs to operate in one of these modes at any given time, Pinnacle Systems engineers chose Altera's Cyclone FPGAs and designed the system so the FPGA reconfigures itself for any one of these modes on the fly. Reconfiguration occurs within milliseconds and is essentially unnoticed by the user. The resulting FPGA design uses nearly one-third fewer logic resources than a nonreconfigurable device. For more information on Altera's Cyclone FPGAs, go to http://rbi.ims.ca/4388-552.
SCALABLE STORAGE NETWORK
Nexsan Technologies InfiniSAN ATAboy (http://rbi.ims.ca/4388-553). This Advanced Technology Attachment (ATA) (redundant array of independent disks) RAID storage product had scalability as an essential design requirement. The design had to be easily modifiable from an entry price and performance point (8 drive, 100 Mbytes/sec sustained performance) to an enterprise price and performance point (14 drive 2 Gbit Fibre Channel product, 360 Mbytes/sec sustained performance, with dual controllers). Nexsan's engineers chose a CPLD over an FPGA because the same design that fit into a 100K gate CPLD (Cypress Semiconductor's Delta39K CPLD) would have required a 150K gate FPGA. The CPLDs have a coarse-grain architecture and dedicated routing, and embedded features. For more information on Cypress Semiconductor CPLDs, go to http://rbi.ims.ca/4388-554.
Gibson MaGIC Guitar (http://rbi.ims.ca/4388-555). The digital guitar converts the analog output from each guitar string into a digital signal that is sent over an Ethernet cable with no latency issues or loss of quality. A remote Breakout Box (BoB) converts the digital information back to analog. Gibson engineers developed the digital guitar using Xilinx reprogrammable Spartan-IIE FPGAs. The programmable nature of the FPGAs provided a flexible high-performance, low-cost design platform. While Spartan-IIE FPGAs were used for the prototype, Gibson engineers selected the latest Spartan-3 FPGAs for production. For more information on Xilinx Spartan-3 FPGAs, go to http://rbi.ims.ca/4388-556.
AUTOMATICALLY ADJUSTED AMPLIFIER
Alcorn McBride Inc. AmpTraXX (http://rbi.ims.ca/4388-557). Designed for use in public venues, this versatile 16-channel amplifier can extract the full potential from almost any type of speaker system thanks to independent filter configuration for low-pass, high-pass, band-pass, notch or none, and parameter adjustments including gain and cutoff frequency. Alcorn McBride engineers chose Anadigm dynamically reconfigurable AN221E04 FPAAs, which are easily controlled within the system by a simple microcontroller to adjust the amplifier's channel volume and filter settings on the fly. Multiple analog functions in the AN221E04 are implemented by programming a 2 × 2 matrix of Configurable Analog Blocks (CAB). For more information on Anadigm FPAAs, go to http://rbi.ims.ca/4388-558.