GraDiEn

Graphic Display

Versatile Graphic Display Engine running on very cheap hardware (ram-less, no frame buffer required).

Objective

Deliver vivid and high quality graphics at the lowest possible cost.
Does not require a frame buffer nor external memory.

GraDiEn

GraDiEn: is a core Graphic Engine that can be tailored to many different applications, runs on very low cost FPGAs, and requires no frame buffer hence no external memory.
This IP is already used by customers in the automotive industry where cost certainly matters ! But any application can take advantage of our innovative and highly efficient technology.

The diagram below shows a typical application using GraDiEn.

GraDiEn

Description

GraDiEn, the ALSE Graphic Display Engine, is a Ram-Less Sprite-based Graphic Display system designed to fit in extremely cheap hardware. It can be used to build Graphic Displays and User Interfaces for a lot of applications like Video Display control, Touch Screen driven GUIs, OSD (On Screen Display), Vending Machines, Industrial Control and display, etc … at the cost of a very cheap Bill Of Material.

With the emergence of mobile computing, small color LCD displays are now very inexpensive and GraDiEn fits in the smallest & low pin count FPGAs (no external volatile memory required), and therefore requires simple PCBs. Typically, only an external Flash memory and an oscillator need to be added to the FPGA and color LCD.

The controller can drive all kinds of screens with resolutions up to Full-HD (1920x1080p), but is of course perfectly suited to drive smaller resolutions such as QVGA (320x240), VGA, WXGA, etc… One advantage of the FPGA is the ability to adapt to virtually any kind of display interface (both physically and logically).

For some other designs, the FPGA will nicely complement an existing low cost micro-controller. This (optional) Processor can drive GraDiEn through any kind of link including: RS232, SPI, i2C, CPU or DSP bus, embedded CPU (wishbone or Avalon eg) etc… Some applications can drive the Graphic Engine internally (like Vending machines) without a processor. GraDiEn is also a good companion for an embedded processor (Nios II or other). The Sprites (icons, or static graphic objects) are stored in a non-volatile (external) memory, like Parallel Flash or Serial Flash (EPCS, SPI, Quad SPI…). Dynamic text and dynamic sprite are stored in the FPGA’s internal memory.

Using Serial Memories help reduce the pin count and footprint but their bandwidth is usually inferior to modern burst-mode parallel memories. Note that we have developed a range of High-Performance Memory Controllers to take advantage of the modern and faster Flash memories, like the new Quad-SPI Flash devices.

The image and the graphic objects can be coded on 8, 16, or 24 bits. And 8 bits can be expanded to 24-bits using Look-up Tables.

GraDiEn Main features

  • Ram-Less (no external volatile memory is needed).
  • Includes a customizable LCD/VGA Display Controller that can support most Screen Resolutions (QVGA, VGA, WXGA, … up to Full-HD), with a Frame Rate up to 60 Hz.
  • Extremely compact (typically under 1,500 Logic Elements, depends on options, screen resolution and configuration).
  • Alpha Blending
  • Transparency
  • 4 x “Z” levels
  • Dynamic Sprite (built “on the fly” by the application)
  • Dynamic Text Applet
  • Utility Programs included (to create and manage the graphical objects stored in Flash).
  • Optional Flash Programmer to update the Flash contents in-site, from the external controller.
  • Many demos available.
  • Simple commercial model (no Royalty).

The IP is available on all kinds of FPGAs provided they offer enough internal memory blocks. A lot of demo platforms are readily available (one for the Altera NEEK Kit is available directly on the web site).

Typical integration in a design usually takes less than one day.

If you want more information, fill in our Information Request Form and tell us what FPGA & screen resolution you plan to use.

Ask for our Full HD Demo on NEEK !