Embedded applications are becoming more complex requiring higher levels of parallelization and computational complexity. However as they often run on batteries they must be low power and additionally they must be small enough to fit into highly portable or wearable solutions. This is particularly true on those embedded applications that focus on robotics and e-Health sensors.
In the field of robotics an important aspect is re-configurability both during development for design and debug and post development for functional upgrades. As a reconfigurable device, the field programmable gate array (FPGA) introduces not only the software programmability commonly seen in microcontrollers, but also hardware programmability, that is, the hardware architecture can be fine tailored to the applications.
In the filed of e-hetalh sensors many streams of medical data could be combined and processed by a single multicore unit, which requires very high computational perfromance and high parallelism.
MA Systems is designing multi-core FPGA based microncontrollers and integrating wireless technologies such as Bluetooth 4.0.
These FPGA multi-core solutions are often based on the Xilinx Virtex 5 device, on which 7 to 10 microcontorllers may be built. As the Virtex 6 and Virtex 7 devices become available, so this Core count may even exceed 300 per FPGA, opening extremely interesting computational possibilities.