A peek at the new RPi Camera FMC

A peek at the new RPi Camera FMC

In the coming weeks we’ll be launching a new product called the RPi Camera FMC. This compact little FMC card allows you to connect 4x Raspberry Pi cameras (and variants) to a few Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC boards listed below. All of the boards will support 4 cameras through the same FMC card.

I like Raspberry Pi and especially the impressive camera ecosystem that they and the RPi community have built up. These cameras are low cost, they come in many different types and levels of performance, and they have robust software support. Why aren’t we more actively employing this immensely valuable camera ecosystem in the FPGA space? Well the answer is complicated, but today I just want to share that my team and I are currently working on solutions to address this problem, and part of that is this new little board.

You might know that there are already a few Zynq UltraScale+ boards on the market with connectors for 1 or 2 RPi cameras. This is great for getting your feet wet, but what if you’re working on an application that requires more than one or two cameras? What if you need a 360-degree view? What if you need stereo vision? What if you need a combination of stereo vision and night vision? A single Zynq UltraScale+ can simultaneously crunch video streams from 4+ RPi cameras using FPGA logic and integrated multimedia processing engines, so clearly they are begging to be connected.

The RPi Camera FMC allows you to connect 4x RPi cameras to the Zynq UltraScale+ via 4x standard 15-pin interfaces. Each of these MIPI interfaces are routed independently to the FPGA fabric of the Zynq UltraScale+ so that you can use the FPGA to process the video streams independently and simultaneously. This means that you can process 4 video streams at the same time on a single board, and all without any CPU even breaking a sweat.

We are currently working on example designs for the 6 supported development boards. Currently we have designs that read the video streams from 4 cameras, combine them into a single video stream which is then fed to a monitor via Display Port. Our next step is to add some image processing to make for an interesting demo. For PYNQ fans, if you were wondering, yes we will also (eventually) work on PYNQ support for this product - let me know if you want to help.

I expect the boards to become available in March 2023. Have a great weekend!

RPi Camera FMC top RPi Camera FMC bottom