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Lattice outs image sensor reference design

16 Apr 2013

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Lattice Semiconductor Corp. has unveiled a reference design that the company said offers a low-cost approach to remotely locate image sensors up to 8m away from the image signal processor (ISP). The SensorExtender can also transmit and receive video signals at resolutions that range up to 720p60 and 1080p30, stated the company.

The reference design uses inexpensive low-cost Cat5E cable to carry HD video and to send I2C sensor control signals from the ISP during the vertical blanking period. Three twisted pairs carry the video and commands while a fourth pair provides power and ground to the remotely located sensors.

The solution serves applications that require image sensors to be separated from the image signal processor, which are often placed in tight spaces without room for adjacent ISPs to process the image. Typical applications include medical probes, large screen TVs with an integrated HD camera, surveillance domes, piping inspection ports, and point-of-sale scanners, indicated Lattice. The SensorExtender may link a single sensor to an ISP or connect a number of sensors to a central processor.

The reference design uses two Lattice MachXO2 low density FPGAs: one is placed next to the image sensor and the other is located just before the ISP. A single twisted pair CAT5E/6 cable connects the two. It also offers a range of interfaces (before serialisation) for CSI-2, HiSPi, parallel, or sub-LVDS image sensors along with support for extending two or more image sensors.

Additionally, the reference design allows parallel or serial ISP interfaces (after-deserialisation). Designers can configure parallel interfaces to handle 1.8V, 2.5V, or 3.3V LVCMOS levels. The SensorExtender is tested with the Aptina MT MT9M024 and the Lattice HDR-60 camera development kit's base board.

Designers who have Lattice's HDR-60 video camera development kit can purchase the SensorExtender kit; part number LCMXO2-4000HE-SEC-EVN. The price is $295 and is available now. The additional cost for the HDR-60 development kit is $425.

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