[Dprglist] FPGAs in robots

Thalanayar Muthukumar tnkumar at gmail.com
Wed Nov 24 15:51:23 PST 2021

Wow Carl. You have had a wealth of FPGA experience.

Yesterday, I had my first hands on experience with FPGA on the ICEstick following Shawn Hymel’s video and got 5 LEDs on.


I have this feeling that possibly 2 channel encoder plus PID plus LIDAR based localization can be implemented on the FPGA.

I do not have the necessary FPGA experience to know whether I am in the right track.

I used Verilog and open source Apio tool chain as that is what Shawn used in his YouTube video.

Love to kick ideas around with you Carl. I have a lot to learn.

- Kumar

Sent from my iPhone

> On Nov 24, 2021, at 5:17 PM, Carl Ott <carl.ott.jr at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi Kumar,
> FWIW - 
> I considered myself quite good with FPGAs - 
> Circa 1990 ~ 1997.
> I coded relatively large (at the time) Xilinx and Altera FPGAs (e.g. 256 pins per device and thousands of gates) - and was able to run them at nearly full utilization and max speed over mil-spec temperature ranges - yet maintain pin assignments regardless of design changes...
> I managed to do that with a mix of functional simulation and static timing analysis tools. At the time, that was using (ASIC focused) Mentor Graphics tools on SUN workstations (with mostly functional FPGA add-on tools)...
> And then I veered away from that path when I moved to Nokia and learned to "design in PowerPoint" (teams/organizations/products/marketingAndProductLaunchCampaigns)..
> I'm sure certain bits of that FPGA knowledge remain quite relevant - but - it's probably a safe bet to guess that a few things might have changed a little since then...
> FWIW - after starting briefly via schematic entry, I quickly migrated to VHDL and highly recommend VHDL or similar language if you're interested. In retrospect, I imagine that coding hardware in VHDL could leverage quite similar / analogous design patterns to coding software in an asynchronous / event driven environment like node.js. That's a hypothesis I'd like to validate at some point...
> I haven't yet hit a DPRG level robot target where I've seriously considered an FPGA. But I'm very interested to kick ideas around if you're willing...
> Best,
> Carl
>> On Wed, Nov 24, 2021 at 4:46 PM Thalanayar Muthukumar via DPRGlist <dprglist at lists.dprg.org> wrote:
>> Has anyone used FPGAs in their robots?
>> I got myself an ICEstick to learn FPGAs and wanted to check if anyone in the group has experience with FPGAs.
>> Regards.
>> - Kumar
>> Sent from my iPhone
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