FPGAs

Why might you use FPGAs?

They’re highly effective managing issues that are not well solved by traditional computing:

1. High data rates with little useful information

High rate sensors (e.g. acquisition in the MHz) on embedded systems can frequently pose challenges as the data rates are hard to capture and work with in a CPU.

FPGAs are great for data reduction. For instance, you may want to capture extremely rapid pulse events. This demands a high acquisition rate when, in fact, the data can be reduced to a pulse time, shape and duration. The CPU doesn’t then have to deal with the full data rate.

2. Custom protocols

An extension of the above, protocols typically require data analysis point by point as it comes in, which is harder for a CPU to perform. With some protocols, it’s impossible to get low latency reactions that some require.

Moreover, it could lead to reducing a 1 MBaud protocol to a few kB/s of actual useful data.

3. Low latency decision-making

Decisions may need to be made within micro or even nanoseconds of receiving an input – which simply is not feasible with a CPU. FPGAs, however, can run loop rates in the MHz allowing very fast stimulus-response loops. 

4. Using lower cost processors

FPGA performs extremely well with certain types of processing (e.g. a simple filter of data on the way in). By using an FPGA, you can reduce the demand on the process and introduce smaller or less expensive systems.

 

"Communication was a concern when we hired a consultant on our FPGA project however Wiresmith Technology were extremely responsive and supportive. They quickly and fully understood our needs and were flexible when problems arose, finding ways or solutions to get the job done.

The deliverable were completed on time which allowed us to demonstrate our technology concept. Even after this James provided technical support until we were happy with the system. We would absolutely recommend them as a reliable, flexible and friendly partner."

Dr. Xin Li, Chemistry Group Leader, Sphere Fluidics

 

Are FPGAs straightforward to implement and use?

Not really.

Integrating them with your system can be a little unnerving for many reasons:

  • The learning curve can be steep and time-consuming.
  • Issues can become compounded, costly and take longer to resolve without the right experience.
  • It can be hard to validate in advance whether the FPGA will perform exactly as you intended.

 

We’ll develop FPGAs faster and better!

We can help you implement National Instruments FPGA systems without you having to invest the time to learn, develop and validate the solution yourself.

We are leading experts in using LabVIEW to program NI’s FPGA-based devices. As one of the first companies to have a Certified LabVIEW Embedded Developer in the UK, we’ve programmed every type of FPGA application available, from simple control systems to GB/s data processing systems.

Whilst LabVIEW FPGA makes the process of programming FPGAs significantly faster, it is still difficult, even if you have LabVIEW experience.

Let us overcome this for you, and get you to a high quality solution significantly faster. 

We can do this in two ways for you:

  1. Via a ‘black box’ where we provide you with a LabVIEW library to access the hardware (saving you from buying LabVIEW FPGA and attending external courses);
  1. We can develop and document the initial FPGA application so that, once we’ve got you set up, your engineers can then take over the software development and progress at their own pace.

Either way we’ll provide you with full source code so you have the freedom to develop the system in any way in the future.