[Dprglist] FPGAs in robots

Carl Ott carl.ott.jr at gmail.com
Wed Nov 24 16:03:45 PST 2021

Kumar - nicely done!

I'm looking forward to comparing your hardware based implementation
concepts with the traditional microprocessor/ software based
ones. Sounds like a cool bake off!  As much as I like to build stuff, it
seems like one can cover more ground by living vicariously through others'
exploits :-)

I always enjoyed getting FPGA designs to work and work - same could
probably be said of software, but there's something about a hardware design
that seems less likely to crash or hang.  And speed - ooo la la!  Back in
the day It was really something to run 'complicated' logic circuits at 40
MHz.  Nowadays - you could sample RF straight at the analog amplifier, and
do everything from there to baseband in digital -> why not - grab an FPGA
and do multi-protocol SDR. There's probably several FPGA libraries for that
- maybe even open sourced libraries...

Ping my email if you like and we can catch up sometime.

Meanwhile - looks like I have homework to skim through a video, and revisit
the difference between Verilog and what I saw years back...



On Wed, Nov 24, 2021 at 5:51 PM Thalanayar Muthukumar <tnkumar at gmail.com>

> 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.
> https://youtu.be/gtkQ84Euyww
> 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.
> Regards.
> - 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
>> _______________________________________________
>> DPRGlist mailing list
>> DPRGlist at lists.dprg.org
>> http://lists.dprg.org/listinfo.cgi/dprglist-dprg.org
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