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MCU for video and audio applications

At Embedded World, FTDI Chip (UK) presented the FT900, a 32-bit micro-controller unit. Running at clock speeds of up to 100 MHz it delivers the levels of processing needed for video over IP, surveillance, quality audio, industrial inspection and door entry intercom system deployments.

FT900 block diagram (Photo: FTDI Chip)

THE UNIT IS ONE OF TWO INITIAL DEVICES in the company’s application oriented controller product lines and has been developed for high speed, computational intensive tasks. It can be used in combination with the FT800 embedded video engine chip, or as a stand-alone MCU. The unit is built to use the GCC compiler, together with the Eclipse IDE, which allows it to utilize third-party and open-source software.

The product offers a range of features and connectivity options, including a 256 KiB capacity program memory and 64 KiB of data memory, USB 2.0 480 Mbit/s capability, and a camera interface for carrying VGA (640 pixel x 480 pixel) resolution video imaging data. The unit is based upon the proprietary FT32 32-bit RSIC core. By executing instructions from shadow RAM, rather than Flash memory, it can operate at true zero wait states up to 100 MHz and 293 DMIPS performance. The MCU’s data streaming domain eliminates the need for complex direct memory access interfacing to transfer data internally.

CAN support is also incorporated into the product, as well as 10/100 Ethernet support with built-in physical layer and digital-to-analogue converters (DACs) and analogue-to-digital converters (ADCs), such as a 10-bit, 1-MHz DAC and a 7-channel multiplexed 10-bit, 1 Msample/s ADC. System interface provision includes I2C slave and master, I2S for external audio, SPI slave and master, SD card interface (2.0), two CAN controllers, a variety of PWMs for standard and audio support, and a parallel camera interface. The device supports an operational temperature range of -40 °C to +85 °C and features an internal voltage regulator of +1,2 V to the digital core for lower power consumption, as well as an integrated power-on-reset circuit.

The MCU is a general purpose micro-controller targeted at high performance systems and as an application controller that can be used in conjunction with EVE display controllers. Target applications include closed circuit monitoring, security network systems, traffic control, audio players, medical monitoring, home networks, and many more. It will accept video input from a CMOS camera sensor over the parallel camera interface or from a networked camera over Ethernet. Processing of the image can then be performed within the MCU to create an FT800-compatible bit-map for output on a QVGA or WQVGA display with target frame rates of up to 15 f/s. By using the SD card interface and the I2S interface to an external codec, it may be used to implement a full feature mp3 player for streaming music and audio file playback.

“At FTDI Chip we try to put ourselves into hardware designers’ shoes, so that every device not only delivers industry-leading performance but also has unique merit in terms of ease of implementation and minimizing engineering overhead,” Fred Dart of FTDI Chip explains. “The FT900 series is flat-out blazing fast. When paired with our EVE product, it can enable the realization of video, audio and control functions that simply can’t be matched by alternative solutions on the market. Furthermore, the Ethernet and CAN bus interfaces mean that is highly suitable for commercial, residential and automotive design projects.”