How to Create a Visual Audio Spectrum with a FPGA in 5 Steps



Hello FPGA lovers! Today’s post is an interesting one which helps us visualize the audio spectrum with the help of your FPGA and an LED strip. Using a VGA cable, the spectrum can be visualised in a computer monitor as well. The microphone on the FPGA used (you may need to adapt this to your own board) captures the surrounding sounds and uses the FPGA to convert it into a perceivable visual output. The author has explained the principle of working in step 2. The input audio signal is stored in 2 block RAMs. The 1st RAM consists of the time domain representation which is used for display in the VGA. The 2nd RAM consists of the Frequency domain representation using FFT which is displayed both in the VGA and the LED strip.

The Hardware required for this project is a FPGA board, USB A to B micro cable, VGA cable, 30 LED Strip, VGA display (PC monitor) and 3 male to male jumper wires. The author has used the PC monitor as the VGA display for this project. However you can use a dedicated LCD screen or any other VGA display if you choose to. The hardware connections are explained in step 3.

The code is available as a zip file in step 4. The author has dedicated steps 4 and 5 towards installing and generating the program for the board. The language used is VHDL and the code has been broken down into modules. The zip file consists of the source files, a readme file explaining the code, a .tcl file to automatically build the project and the .bit and .bin files for programming the FPGA.


By Mirceadabacan

Build an Autonomous FPGA Search and Rescue Vehicle

Hello again FPGA lovers! Today’s project is a challenging one where you build an autonomous search and rescue vehicle with FPGA! The projects involves the use of 2 vehicles, where one searches for the target with the aid of an FPGA, while the other uses minimal sensory aids to follow the search beacon and rescue.

The whole project has been divided into two steps, where the first step contains the hardware requirements. Apart from your FPGA, some of the other materials needed are an LCD screen, infrared thermometer, ultrasonic sensor, Dual DC motor drivers, logic converters, Rotary encoders and even a magnetometer. A detailed list of all used materials, their significance and connections are given in step 1 by the author.

The author has used VHDL (.vhd) for coding, and the code is available here. The zip file has been divided into the binary code and source code. You will find everything you need with detailed modules regarding each hardware part in the source code folder. The code can simply be uploaded onto the board and run for the search vehicle. The rescue vehicle directly follows the search vehicle and needs very little sensory aids.

The project’s documentation, presentation and source code is available here, and you can refer it for a detailed modus operandi of the project. This FPGA work is a combination of a number of interfacing techniques such as LCD with FPGA, DC motor drivers with FPGA and more. It is an apt project to test your mettle in the field of FPGA, and the result is truly worth the effort!


By pcmihnea

All You Need Is 2 Wires And 50 Bucks To Get Video Out Of Your Arduino With Mesa-Video


In this post we want to introduce you a great article that describe the latest projects from Black Mesa Labs. These guys wanted to create a new approach to add video support to your projects with Arduino and other low cost microcontrollers. So the idea of Mesa-Video was born.

Mesa-Video is a fully open-source device that will provide real time video resolution of up to 800 x 600 pixels on a HDMI output to any device with a UART serial port.

Following Mesa-Video is Mesa-Bus, their solution to the shield stacking problems of Arduino. Issues appear if you want to get more than one. Therefore, they have come up with this small device which works as USBs for PCs. It´s also cross-platform and open source so you can easily disconnect your Arduino and connect a RaspberryPi without making any changes to the other devices on your design. Simpler and faster approach that puts together SPI and I2C saving a lot of decoding.

A lot more projects are on the pipe, so we recommend you to keep an eye on Black Mesa Labs Projects.

Read the full article here.


By Black Mesa Labs

How to Display Video On A Screen With Only One Wire


In today´s article we bring you a great tutorial about NTSC. For those who don´t know this, NTSC is another video standard, like VGA, very popular in the Americas and Eastern Asia. However, unlike VGA, NTSC only uses 1 signal wire!

The principal behind that is quite complex. Thus, the example developed on the article only aims at displaying black and white images. Luckily, all the physics that NTSC is based on are explained here so we encourage you to go on and play with NTSC color signals.

This is a highly recommended tutorial that only takes 1 hour to do! And it is very cheap to set up, remember that there is only 1 signal wire. Oh yes the code! The controller is built using an FPGA running VHDL, which is given =).

Don´t miss this article and try to implement the recommendations at the end, substituting the resistors for a DAC.

Happy play!

By Chris

Feeling like Barenboim? Check it with your FPGA!

Today´s article shows how a group of students from Cornell University, created a hardware-software set of tools to develop and composed your own music, the Audio Composer and Conducting Suite (A.C.C.S).

This virtual conducting environment platform is capable of inputting the compositions from a video camera and a keyboard or a conductor waving his/her hands at the same time the music is playing on the background in real time. This way you can know pretty soon if you are the right fit for the composition world (This is if you don´t start to feel pain in your ears when hearing your own music).

All this is possible thanks to the brain of the system, composed of two Altera FPGA´s. One is responsible for filtering the video signals and capturing the movements of the hands. The other FPGA is in charge of the musical notation. Both running in parallel.

The only drawback (there is always something…) of this project is that you need to wear a special kind of gloves

Read the full article to find out more and be more serious about feeling like Barenboim, or not!


By Cornell University Students

Spit out VGA with non-programmable logic chips

Bitbanging a VGA can be a tough task due to the timing requirements. Nevertheless Sven gave it a go and not only he bitbanged a VGA on an arduino, but he managed to configured an array of 7400 logic chips to output a VGA signal.

Consisting of two parts, his project first consisted in outputting a VGA signal on a monitor then talking about adding circuitry to take care of frame counting, geometry and color.

A simulator was first used to plan out the graphics, then a 7400 chip configuration was designed for the display.