Avnet Adds Programmable Logic Alternative to 96Boards Community with New Ultra96 Development Board

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Avnet announced the new Ultra96 development board. Avnet’s Ultra96 board adds a wide range of potential peripherals and programmable logic acceleration engines not previously available on the 96Boards platform. Avnet will be previewing and accepting pre-orders for the new board at the Linaro Connect Conference, March 19-23, Regal Airport Hotel in Hong Kong.

Avnet’s Ultra96 board, built around the Xilinx ZynqUltraScale+ MPSoC, is compatible with the 96Boards Consumer Edition specification from Linaro, a not-for-profit engineering organization dedicated to developing open source software for the Arm architecture. Designed to accelerate the delivery of low-cost hardware with the latest SoC technology, 96Boards provides a standard board layout for SoC-agnostic development platforms that can be used for applications including desktop and laptop computing, the digital home, digital signage, point of sale (POS), high-end audio, robotics and drones, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, IoT and industrial control.

“The Ultra96 board is a great example of how the 96Boards initiative, and its supporting development community, can make leading-edge technology available to a broad market customer base in a way that has not been previously possible,” said Bryan Fletcher, technical marketing director, Avnet. “By bringing programmable logic functionality to this specification, we have opened up a wealth of new high-performance and high-bandwidth development options to the 96Boards community of Arm experts and enthusiasts.”

Using programmable logic to accelerate the development of deep learning and AI algorithms is a key trend, but one that has largely been focused on data center installations, noted Yang Zhang, 96Boards Director. “The Ultra96 makes the power of programmable logic accessible for all types of engineers and is a great example of how 96Boards can make the latest technology accessible for all.”

“The Ultra96 board provides engineers a platform for software development and hardware acceleration of machine learning algorithms,” said Sumit Shah, director of SoC product marketing at Xilinx. “The Ultra96 is designed so software engineers can immediately begin Linux application development. Using the Xilinx Vivado Design Suite and SDSoC Development Environment, they can accelerate algorithms in programmable logic, achieving orders of magnitude performance improvements over processor-only implementations. The Ultra96 board is an excellent low-cost platform for software developers to take advantage of the benefits of hardware acceleration.”

Technical Specifications:

The Ultra96 board boots from the included Delkin Devices Industrial 16 GB MicroSD card, which is pre-loaded with PetaLinux. Designers can connect to Ultra96 through a web server using the integrated wireless access point capability or via the provided PetaLinux desktop environment, viewable on the integrated Mini DisplayPort video output. Multiple application examples and on-board development options are provided for reference.

Among the interfaces available on Ultra96 are: LPDDR4 memory, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2 classic and Low Energy (BLE), USB 3.0 upstream and downstream, UARTs, JTAG and I2C. Engineers may also interact with the board through the 96Boards-compatible, low-speed and high-speed expansion connectors by adding peripheral accessories.

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