VisualApplets Version 3

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Silicon Software released Version 3 of its award winning graphical development environment, VisualApplets, as a 64bit version with new functions and extensions. VisualApplets simplifies the programming of image processing applications on FPGA processors (Field-Programmable Gate Array) for frame grabbers, industrial cameras and image processing devices via data flow models, without using a hardware description language (HDL). VisualApplets allows the programming of FPGA processors to become user friendly, enabling new industry specific image processing applications in real-time and thus saving computer resources.

The VisualApplets development environment allows companies of all sizes to use FPGA processors for their image processing needs. Both hardware and software developers as well as application engineers are able to develop individual image processing applications in a short timeframe using the intuitive data flow model user interface. Image processing designs can be created from more than 200 operators, which are grouped into libraries, and can be easily transferred onto frame grabbers, cameras and image processing devices. Should the design change, the software easily recalculates the available resources in the FPGA.

FPGA processors, which are excellent for image processing tasks, process the data with a very high level of parallelism and therefore guarantee the necessary throughput. All programming is executed in real-time within the FPGA hardware. The VisualApplets development environment was awarded the VISION Award 2006, in the first year of its launch ten years ago and now gets its next important development step with the new version 3.

Specific applications and embedded vision solutions

VisualApplets graphical FPGA development environment will be offered as a 64bit version and with additional extensions. In VisualApplets base version, it is now possible to extend the functionality with enhanced function operator libraries via licensed extensions. Currently available are segmentation and classification along with compression extensions. Further extensions will be released later this year to allow individual image processing applications and embedded vision solutions.

Among the new operators in the VisualApplets base version, is a loop operator which allows loops within the data flow model. With this new loop operator, it is now possible to calculate image sequences and matches along with image batch processing which is an important resource saving function within the FPGA for applications such as rolling average. The FFT operator (Fast Fourier Transformation) has been refined to implement more complex filters with high computing time making bandpass filters more FPGA resource efficient. In addition, it is possible to use Xilinx’ Vivado software for the final synthesis of the FPGA hardware code as applets, which increases the speed of this process in many cases. Silicon Software’s V Series frame grabbers are already pre-licensed for the use with VisualApplets. Additionally, Baumer’s LX VisualApplets Series of cameras are already compatible with VisualApplets 3.

The VisualApplets Expert extension enables advanced users to easily import existing HDL code from VHDL or Verilog into the development environment and to further refine it as generic operator. With the VisualApplets Embedder extension, OEM designed image processing hardware becomes compatible with VisualApplets and can be equipped with enhanced functions.

The launch of the VisualApplets Expert and Embedder extensions are planned for fall 2016. All extensions will be offered as a one-time license and will include free updates and support until the next major release.