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How is FPGA Used in Designing Embedded Systems?

How is FPGA Used in Designing Embedded Systems?

It is estimated by the major tech giants across the globe that there will be further drastic changes in the healthcare industry. They will be more interested in focusing on early diagnosis, having digitized patient information, accessing them from any or numerous locations, and creating total solution selling concepts. This will aid in contributing to healthcare productivity gains and all of these will be possible with the help of FPGA-enabled medical equipment. To understand where we are headed, we need to first understand what FPGA is and what its scopes are.

FPGA in a nutshell

FPGA stands for field-programmable gate array. This is mostly the integrated circuit that is used to implement the code in any hardware and execute it a thousand times faster than it can in a processor. The foundation of these circuits or arrays is the Configurable Logic Blocks (CLBs), memory, or certain other elements.

If we are to compare them, an ASIC or Application-specific Integrated Circuit will only do its specific function task. They will not permit any modification or reprogramming. Here, an FPGA will be programmed by connecting multiple and thousands of reprogrammable blocks.

Embedded systems design with FPGA

Here are the three main varieties listed down below:

Low-end FPGAs

These are designed for consuming low power, low logic density, and low levels of complexity per chip.

  • Spartan family from AMD
  • Cyclone family from Intel
  • Mach XO/ICE40 from Lattice Semiconductor
  • Fusion family from Microsemi

Mid-range FPGAs

They are primarily designed to deliver optimal solutions between low-end and high-end FPGAs. These will not only balance the performances, but also the cost.

  • Arria from Intel
  • IGL002 from Microsemi
  • Artix-7/ Kintex-7 series from Xilinx
  • ECP3 and ECP5 series from the Lattice semiconductor

High-end FPGAs

These are extreme types of FPGAs that are designed only for logic density and high performance.

  • Virtex family from Xilinx
  • Speedster 22i family from Achronix
  • Stratix family from Intel
  • ProASIC3 family from Microsemi

What are its current applications?

FPGAs have witnessed rapid growth in the past decade, majorly because of the enormous range of applications that they can handle. They are used in ASIC prototyping, device controllers, software-defined radio, cryptography, video processing, integrating multiple SPLDs, random logic, voice recognition, encoding communication, computer hardware emulation, and many others.

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