Lattice or Xilinx

Ignacio García Pérez iggarpe at
Fri Sep 11 05:36:33 EDT 2009

> Will we add a power-hungry, space-consuming and expensive FPGA to all Ya
> NanoNotes, even though it may only serve a real purpose for 1% of our
> NanoNote buyers? Of course not!
> But at the same time we believe in open innovation, and the innovation
> needs to come from somewhere. So one idea could be to only make a few
> small, ideally zero-cost improvements from the Ben to the Ya NanoNote.
> Routing a few more pins to test points, adding USB host (which is only
> another connector since it's already in the SoC), increasing SDRAM
> to 64 MB. But that would be it.

I agree and I think I got the point from the beginning. It was hard to
believe an FPGA was going to get its way into the NN, but it is always worth
discussin the idea.

> And then we make a small-volume 2nd variant of the PCB. A 'hacker PCB'
> that would fit into the case, but you would have to cut a hole into
> the case on one side, and the hacker PCB would stick out by a few
> centimeters.
> Then that 'excess' PCB space could be filled with connectors, FPGA,
> etc. It would be ugly, but not uglier than an open Arduino board for
> example. We could make 500 of these hacker PCBs, or 1000, however
> large we are able to grow our developer community.
> But the main mass-market Ya NanoNote would not be affected.

I still think that if you want to empower the electronics hacker user base,
you're better off providing a separate board which connects via USB/SPI/I2C
to the NN. You end up with the same system and only have to manage one NN
model. And it would be easier to modify the expansion board or even have
several models with different FPGA, uC, etc. Those can be independent open
hardware/software projects.

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