If you’re developing an edge processing application for the IoT or commercial/industrial markets, you have many variables to consider: BOM cost, performance and key features. The processor choice is also critical to your application’s success. Will it fly? Yes it will with the new i.MX 8M Nano UltraLite (UL) applications processor from NXP Semiconductors.
The latest addition to NXP’s popular software-compatible i.MX 8M Nano applications processors family, the UltraLite processor provides a high-performance, cost-optimized and scalable solution for the IoT edge. A smaller package, reduced-cost version of its i.MX 8M Nano predecessor, the UltraLite processor delivers the affordable performance you need for a wide range of consumer and professional audio, smart home and building automation, industrial HMI, and healthcare and fitness/wellness activity monitoring applications.
The i.MX 8M Nano UltraLite is no lightweight when it comes to performance and features. It offers nearly everything you expect from a full-featured Nano applications processor except for a graphics processing unit (GPU) and MIPI-DSI display. Up to four Arm® Cortex®-A53 cores plus an extra Cortex-M7 core provide ample processing headroom for most edge processing applications including some machine learning tasks. You also get a MIPI-CSI camera interface, audio capabilities, plenty of external memory interfaces, high-speed USB 2.0 and Gigabit Ethernet connectivity, and industrial temperature options.
Table 1 highlights the key features that differentiate the members of the i.MX 8M Nano applications processor family including the new UltraLite device.
Table 1: i.MX 8M Nano Family Member Feature Set Comparison
Just Add Voice or Vision
The i.MX 8M Nano UL is a good fit for a wide range of Linux-based applications that don’t require graphics displays. For example, leveraging the UltraLite’s quad-core processing and audio capabilities, you can add sophisticated voice control to a wide range of applications. With the proliferation of voice assistants, end users have embraced the convenience of hands-free voice control, creating strong demand for voice-enabled products in our homes and workplaces. Touchless voice control can enhance the safety for users of publicly shared access controls, elevators, kiosks and vending machines, a key concern during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The UltraLite’s MIPI CSI camera interface also supports commercial and industrial applications with vision capabilities such as gesture and face-recognition cameras, barcode and image scanners, and machine visual inspection systems.
Software and Tools Support
The i.MX 8M Nano UltraLite EVK hardware and software board support package (BSP) provide a comprehensive platform for evaluating UltraLite-based applications processors using up to four Cortex-A53 cores and the additional Cortex-M7 core. The EVK topology comprises a baseboard and a size-optimized compute module featuring the i.MX 8M Nano UltraLite applications processor, NXP PMIC, DRAM, eMMC and wireless connectivity through an NXP Wi-Fi®/Bluetooth® module. NXP has integrated the PMIC drivers, Wi-Fi/Bluetooth drivers and communications stacks to simplify and accelerate application development. By using the Linux BSP, developers can easily combine power management and wireless connectivity with the UltraLite’s voice and vision capabilities.
Let your next edge design take flight. Visit i.MX 8M Nano to learn more about the new i.MX 8M Nano UltraLite applications processor and to purchase the evaluation kit and access the BSP.