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Trickle-down tech: It's not just the Pi

Posted: 23 Apr 2015 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Raspberry Pi? embedded? processor? single board computers? computing boards?

GE Automation

Another example of unique capabilities in embedded computing is the GE Automation mini COM Express format board, which features the NVIDIA Tegra K1. The Tegra K1 has quad ARM Cortex-A15 cores augmented with 192 CUDA GPU processing units, which offer incredible video processing capabilities at low cost andmore importantlylow power (under 10W). GE Automation has so much confidence in the board that it's being used as the primary visual navigation system to land on the moon (there is no GPS on the moon) as part of the Google Lunar XPRIZE entry from Astrobotic (see the rover below). The GE board is space-ready and sells for less than $1,000.

Astrobotic

Qualcomm

The latest Qualcomm Snapdragon (810) is a 64-bit octa-core processor (4x ARM Cortex-A57 and 4x ARM Cortex-A53) with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS, so whatever the system designer needs to connect to there are many ways to get there. The Snapdragon processor (block diagram below) is expected to go for less than $495.

Snapdragon

Summary

We have taken a brief look at six processor companies, each using their unique design knowledge to give board vendors andultimatelysystem designers incredible capabilities that have "trickled down" from advances in mobile devices. The Raspberry Pi is just one example of trickle-down technology, but there are over 100 board vendors embracing semiconductor innovation and bringing it to the wider world of embedded boards for diverse, long-life, and ruggedised applications.

Have you got a favorite board or "trickle-down" story to share?

David Blaza
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