In early 2013 the next generation video codec standard was approved by the Joint Collaborative Team on Video Coding (JCT-VC). The standard is called High Efficiency Video Codec (HEVC), more commonly referred to as H.265.
H.265 boasts many improvements over the previous standard, H.264, namely that it is able to maintain the same image quality at half the bitrate. A better architecture and compression algorithm allow service providers to stream videos with much better resolution using the same bandwidth.
The air is absolutely still in the frigid early morning, and across the neighborhood lazy clouds of white vapor drift slowly up from the heated homes. On the nightstand, your phone’s dimmed screen subtly updates to show 5:55AM, triggering a riot of electrons that goes completely unnoticed by you as you sleep. An artificial sunrise imperceptibly brightens the room, and by 6:00AM the room is already half bright. You start to stir and open your eyes.
In the basement, the on-demand water heater cycles on in anticipation of you getting into the shower. As you reach the bathroom the lights slowly come up, and during your shower they reach full brightness. In the kitchen the preloaded coffee maker starts to brew your morning cup.
As you head out the door for work, your car is already warming up in the driveway. You hop in the car and the radio station changes to an easy rock station. While you drive off to work the car brings you up to speed on the overseas emails you received during the night.
So what happened here? Is this some science fiction story? Read More
With the booming demand for IoT devices (a market of $1.9 trillion and 26 billion devices by 2020), everyone is getting connected. Our clients want to make new and innovative products that are connected to the internet, but they’re not willing to sacrifice their bottom-line with expensive wireless integration. So, how can you create a top-quality, yet affordable wireless device? Here are five strategies that have allowed us to deliver products to market for mere dollars apiece.
1. Choose the right SoC
System on a chip (SoC) manufacturers are creating modules with IoT applications in mind, and there are many parts available to help you meet design requirements, and sail through FCC emissions testing. If you use an SoC, the part you select will have the single biggest impact on the end cost of your product.
It’s important to understand your design requirements and find a part that meets them, without providing extra features and the associated extra cost that you don’t need. For example, a part with both Wi-Fi and Ethernet is overkill if you’re only using one technology.
Manufacturer’s SoC evaluation designs and kits can provide valuable insight on how specific parts can be implemented best. Nuvation design partners Freescale and Texas Instruments have a lot of great options in this space. Read More
In the past few years, the market for IoT devices has exploded, opening up a whole new world of possibilities for telehealth and medical applications. Advancements in sensor design, battery life, and wireless networking technologies have allowed everything from insulin pumps to pacemakers to be connected to the internet. To successfully launch a new medical product in the IoT market, manufacturers need to understand the regulations that ensure medical devices are reliable, safe, and secure.
The FDA recently released guidelines pertaining to wireless medical device design, testing and use. We’ll address a few of their recommendations here. Read More
Have you played Angry Moose yet? If not, here’s a great view of the experience using a Lytro light-field camera.
The Lytro camera records the entire light field, instead of just a 2D image, which allows you to shift perspective in a photo after it’s taken. Click the image below to refocus, click and drag to change the perspective, and double click to zoom. Pretty cool!
Nuvation has been developing electronic products that use the Global Positioning System (GPS) for many years, but recently there has been an explosion in the GPS design field. Autonomous designs such as vehicles, robotics, consumer electronics, and more all use GPS technology. We’ll be posting a series of articles about how the technology works, and some design considerations for autonomous products.
GPS is a constellation of 32 satellites orbiting approximately 12,000 miles above the earth. The satellites make two complete orbits every 24 hours, and are arranged so that about nine satellites are visible from any point on earth at any time. A GPS receiver on earth can determine its precise location if it has an unobstructed view of four of these satellites.
With the rapid growth of mobile technology and battery-powered devices, power consumption has become an increasingly important metric for electronic products. Designing low-power systems and devices is particularly difficult due to the complex and numerous hardware and software interactions that need to be considered. When designing a system that requires years of battery life, a good power management plan is necessary. Here are some strategic tips that Nuvation engineers have implemented to successfully design many low-power devices. Read More
Nuvation recently made a donation to the Foundation, which focuses on providing knowledge, skills, and programs to improve science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education. The Foundation supports other causes in times of need as well, such as Typhoon Relief in the Philippines where two of TI’s semiconductor factories and 3,400 of its employees are located. Nuvation is a member of the TI Design Network, a small community of well-established companies offering embedded software and electronic product design services, to complement TI’s device solutions.
If your organization is interested in applying for a STEM grant, grant applications can be submitted here. Nuvation is proud to support TI’s charitable efforts, and we look forward to more community initiatives in the future!
Software developer Michael van Lammeren reports on some innovative techniques his engineering team used for a recent project. Their approach for developing simple, robust code allowed them to meet difficult design requirements and avoid costly schedule delays.
A Nuvation software developer never knows what challenges the next electronic design services project will bring. Oscilloscopes and development kits are pretty standard tools of the trade, but a recent project had us discovering an old tool and creating some interesting new ones.
Low latency is often a key requirement for high-performance video designs. Nuvation’s engineering team recently completed a low-latency video streaming design that handles HD video from capture to display, using the H.264 codec for compression. We used a unique approach to profile the latency in our system that contributed to the delivery of a successful product.
The H.264 codec is designed with low-latency applications in mind, and it provides the ability to partition video frames into regions called slices. This allows the encoder to start encoding video data before a full frame has been captured which decreases the amount of time it takes to send out an encoded frame. Although we had already measured the total latency in our system, we decided it would be useful to get an in-depth look at slices moving through the video path to see which parts of the system were contributing the most latency. This profiling information would be very useful for further optimizations. We created a tool that would provide timestamps when H.264 slices reached key locations in the video path. This way we could see the amount of time each slice spent at different stages of the path, all the way from capture to display.
Our system used two separate pieces of hardware:
A circuit board to capture video from a camera, encode it with the H.264 codec, and stream it over a network connection
A circuit board to receive, decode, and display the video stream on a monitor
Our key locations were spread out across these two boards.