If you are just entering the realm of IoT device design, you might come to realize that you have stepped into familiar territory. When you step back and take an objective look at it, the majority of IoT device design is based on the reuse of existing technology. Ethernet, WiFi, and Bluetooth have been around for a long time, and IoT devices depend heavily on those technologies and their refinements. This dependency is reflected in a new offering from ON Semiconductor aimed at home automation and home security applications.
ON Semiconductor anticipates high-definition video will be the next mature technology integrated into the IoT domain. In support, the company has attached its 1080p-resolution AR0230 CMOS image sensor to a Texas Instruments TMS320DM368 DaVinci digital media processor, which reigns over a land where USB, Ethernet, WiFi, and Bluetooth Smart roam freely. A video-enhanced reference design is known as the MatrixCam Video Development Kit.
The idea behind the MatrixCam device is to store and forward single-frame and 30fps streaming video on demand. Video storage is accomplished via an 8-GB microSD card that is serviced by the TMS320DM368. A Realtek 8201CP Ethernet PHY, which is also under the control of the chip, handles the wire-based forwarding of video. WiFi video transfers are performed by a GainSpan GS2011MIES 802.11b/g/n WiFi module. Cloud services such as the Wowza Streaming Engine, Amazon Web Service, and Google Cloud Platform are supported. The MatrixCam's ability to access these services allows video to be stored and retrieved from the cloud manually or programmatically.
If you happened to attend my recent Digi-Key-sponsored Design News Continuing Education Center lecture series, "Buidling IoT Devices from Scratch, you are familiar with the Nordic Semiconductor nRF51822 Bluetooth Smart SoC. In the lecture series, we deployed it as an Eddystone beacon. The MatrixCam employs the nRF51822 as an optional wake-up device, which wakes up the GainSpan GS2011MIES WiFi module, which in turn wakes up the TMS320DM368. On wake-up a Bluetooth Smart-initiated push notification can be sent to a mobile device, alerting the user that a video or image is available for viewing. By default, a wake-up event is triggered by the MatrixCam's integral PIR sensor when movement is detected. The stated detection angle is 140 degrees within a 10-to 15-foot detection radius.
The MatrixCam exterior design is clean, as there are only two pushbuttons (power and reset). Its configuration is performed using its embedded HTTP server. The MatrixCam's USB portal can be used for debugging, firmware upgrades, and recording/viewing video from the microSD card. A single-cell lithium-ion battery powers the system. Optional power can be obtained from the USB portal.
The MatrixCam Video Development Kit is supported by a number of downloadable documents on the ON Semiconductor website. I don't see future MatrixCam-based designs locked into the home automation box, as serious video capability has arrived for embedded IoT design.
Fred Eady is the owner of EDTP Electronics, which was established in 1988 following the publication of his first magazine article. Since the formation of EDTP Electronics, Fred has written thousands of magazine articles. He has written for all of the major electronic magazines, including Radio Electronics, Electronics Now, Nuts and Volts, Servo, MicroComputer Journal, and Circuit Cellar. To date, he has authored four books and contributed to a fifth. He currently works as a PIC microcontroller consultant and is a Microchip Authorized Design Partner. Fred also authors monthly columns in Nuts and Volts and Servo magazines. His customers include machine shops, specialty startup companies, medical machine manufacturers, coin-operated device businesses, and various other research and development companies. He has a very close working relationship with Microchip Technology, the manufacturer of PIC microcontrollers, and has taught Ethernet and WiFi classes at Microchip's annual Masters Conference.
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