Image Processing On FPGA

Jean Dennison
December 19, 2018
332 Views

Image processing is a unique task and requires intensive functionalities to produce quality results. In most situations, the CPU setup isn’t able to handle the rigorous demands put on its shoulders. As a result, the image processing is sluggish, untimely and simply inefficient. This can become entirely bothersome because of the stress that’s put on the machine and what’s expected of it over a short period of time. In these situations, it’s time to look at the value of FPGA devices and how to maximize image processing with their help.

For those interested, here’s a look at how to do image processing on FPGA.

Digital Signal Processing

In general, digital signal processing has been used to help with the traditional DSP chips that are produced. This is often done for basic applications that are designed to work at a reduced level. However, the same doesn’t apply to modern setups where ASICs are being used at a higher rate. With all of this in mind, it becomes important to understand the value of FPGAs. It has become a game-changer in technology.

The standards that are put on devices means it’s essential to use something as efficient as Field Programmable Gate Arrays, which has become the case over the last decade or so. It has become a way for image processing specialists to get more out of their devices over a shorter period of time. This is where the advantages start to reveal themselves because it is able to work at a higher level while reducing the costs that are put on the user. It also eliminates some of the hurdles that come with the modifications process after production. The user is able to get more out of the setup because it allows for more versatility and you are able to get more out of the device in terms of power usage and space.

Image result for image processing on fpga

Image Processing

Let’s move onto the pertinent part of this article and that’s learning how to do image processing on FPGA. In general, you are going to begin with the FPGA processing architecture. To do this, the user is going to make use of a camera interface, which is then connected straight to the FPGA. This is done to make sure the pixels are being pushed through to the FPGA, which is then able to process them individually. According to specialists, it is best to make use of Camera Link cameras because they are integrated into the FPGA architecture and will do well as soon as the processing begins. It saves a lot of time this way!

While going about this process, you are going to make use of the device’s inline processing setup, which means you are able to set up preprocessing features on the FPGA. In this case, you would make sure to have the filters established on the device before the pixels come in. This results in everything going through the FPGAs and coming out the other end fully processed in a shorter period of time as desired. Remember, the reason more and more people use FPGAs has to do with their speed and how effective their loop rates are. So, you will want to integrate the cameras and make sure the sorting is being done at the right pace using FPGAs. This will make sure the information is processed properly without getting lost along the way!

Nuances of Using FPGA

Most people are used to the idea of using CPUs, which means there is one line that is used to process everything. As one can assume, this may work but can also take up quite a bit of time in comparison to FPGAs available at http://www.directics.com/fpga-board/ where everything is working along four lines at the same time. Yes, there are ways to get a diverse range of pixels processing at the same exact time! This is a big part of the FPGA architecture and how it is able to process images.

Let’s assume you take the time to establish a filter on your FPGA (preprocessing) and the data starts streaming in. The data is going to go through this coding and come out the other end without extra coding needed. This is all done without adding holes to the data.

In fact, studies have shown when you put the right filters beforehand, you are going to get this done within seconds. It is going to be transferred to and from the FPGA without missing a beat especially when the filters are picture-perfect. This is why you want to look at the details such as saturation and brightness well in advance to make sure it’s in line with what you had imagined. By the time you are done, it is going to be 20x faster than what a regular CPU could have done!

Final Thoughts

Of course, you will have to remember, it is all about ensuring the images are coming in directly. This is going to help with the image processing and is going to ensure the raw clock rates don’t get in the way of what’s happening. A traditional CPU is faster in this regard but that is only going to matter if the algorithm isn’t designed for parallelism (which is a benefit of FPGAs). When all the individual pixels are going through, this is where FPGA is able to shine. Otherwise, you are going to be better off using a CPU as it is simply not going to be able to offer the same amount of space. However, in all other situations, you are going to want to make use of FPGAs.

You always want to go with FPGAs when the image has to be processed into smaller bis as that is when the filters can be used wisely. Set this up as soon as you get the chance and watch as your image processing improves in quality and time too. This is why most people are now starting to move towards the use of FPGAs and believe this is the way to go for all image processing.

 

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