Parallella LCD baseboard released as open hardware


Parallella LCD baseboard

Antmicro is involved with numerous Xilinx Zynq-related projects, and one of them has been the excellent Parallella project, which uses Zynq to bring high-performance low-power manycore computing to the masses with the onboard Epiphany multicore CPU, coupled with the ARM cores of Zynq through the FPGA fabric.

We see a huge potential in small devices packing a something along the lines of an Epiphany chip, a powerful accelerator for many types of computation. As you may remember, back in 2013 we helped get the Parallella HDMI to work, but for an embedded application you typically need something smaller and more integrated than an HDMI screen – and so we set out to create an LCD baseboard for Parallella, so that the board can be turned into a standalone SBC with a small screen, without the need for a monitor and HDMI support in the FPGA bitstream (which also takes up some FPGA real estate).

As you can see we have also added some useful connectors which we found necessary for day to day Parallella work. The board was just released as open hardware under the GNU GPL license, with the possibility to reproduce and modify it as required – visit our github to grab the files.

The LCD board allows Parallella to run Linux with graphics, using a simple GPU IPcore and a proper Linux driver (including e.g. LCD dimming) which we also made.

The software work will be open sourced in the nearest future.

Another piece of good news is that all this infrastructure will allow us to release a decently behaving Android for Parallella, which we have been baking in the background. When this work is complete and available to the community, we will be really excited to see Epiphany-accelerated computation driven straight from an Android application.