If you are developing an edge processing application for the IoT or commercial/industrial market, there are many variables to consider: such as BOM cost, performance and key features, etc. The choice of processor is often the key to the success or failure of an application. And most importantly, is it fast enough? And NXP Semiconductors’ new 8M Nano UltraLite (UL) applications processor may be a good choice because it’s “lightning fast”.
Since its launch, NXP’s i.MX 8M Nano applications processor family has been widely welcomed for its excellent performance. Now, NXP is building on the success by officially launching the new i.MX 8M Nano UltraLite processor in this family, providing a cost-optimized, high-performance, scalable solution for the IoT edge. In a smaller package and lower cost than the previous i.MX 8M Nano processor, UltraLite is ideal for a wide range of consumer applications and professional audio, smart home and building automation, industrial HMI, healthcare and fitness/health monitoring application provides the superior performance you need.
Although named “Lite”, the i.MX 8M Nano UltraLite has not compromised in terms of performance and features. With the exception of the Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) and MIPI-DSI Display interface, the processor has nearly the same features as the full-featured i.MX 8M Nano applications processor. Up to four Arm® Cortex®-A53 cores with an additional Cortex-M7 core provide ample processing headroom for most edge processor applications, including some machine learning tasks. You also get a MIPI-CSI camera interface, audio capabilities, multiple external memory interfaces, Hi-Speed USB 2.0 and Gigabit Ethernet connections, and industrial temperature options.
Table 1 highlights the different key features of the i.MX 8M Nano applications processor family, which includes the new UltraLite devices.
Table 1: i.MX 8M Nano Family Feature Set Comparison
Voice or Visual Applications
The i.MX 8M Nano UltraLite is ideal for a variety of Linux-based applications that do not require a graphics display. For example, by leveraging the quad-core processing and audio capabilities of the i.MX 8M Nano UltraLite, you can add sophisticated voice control to a wide range of applications. With the rapid development of voice assistants, end users are freeing their hands and enjoying the convenience brought by voice control, which provides great possibilities for voice-enabled products in the home and workplace. Contactless voice control can enhance the safety of users of public access, elevators, kiosks and vending machines, which is undoubtedly a key issue during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The i.MX 8M Nano UltraLite’s MIPI CSI camera interface is suitable for vision-enabled commercial and industrial applications such as gesture and face recognition cameras, barcode and image scanners, and machine vision inspection systems.
Software and Tool Support
The i.MX 8M Nano UltraLite EVK hardware and software Board Support Package (BSP) provides a comprehensive platform for evaluating i.MX 8M Nano UltraLite application processing with up to 4 Cortex-A53 cores and additional Cortex-M7 cores device. The EVK topology consists of a substrate and a size-optimized compute MODULE containing an i.MX 8M Nano UltraLite applications processor, NXP PMIC, DRAM, eMMC, and wireless connectivity via an NXP Wi-Fi™/Bluetooth™ module . NXP integrates PMIC drivers, Wi-Fi/Bluetooth drivers and communication stacks to simplify and accelerate application development. Using the Linux BSP, developers can easily combine energy management, wireless connectivity, and the processor’s voice and vision capabilities.