The Significance of the MIPI CSI-2 Interface
in Embedded Vision Applications
The MIPI CSI-2 interface is becoming an importantDownload White Paper
interface for embedded vision applications.
Our White Paper explains why.
BCON – Lean Embedded Vision Architectures with Basler’s New Interfaces
BCON stands for Basler Connectivity, which represents the addition of reliable and highly productive Machine Vision features to established data transmission standards from the embedded industry (such as LVDS or MIPI CSI-2). Thanks to the integration into the world of Machine Vision standards (GenICam) and the pylon SDK, this makes basic technologies easier to use than ever before.
Whether MIPI CSI-2 or LVDS: BCON ensures a reliable broadband transfer of image data and, in connection with Basler dart board level cameras, enables an extremely lean image processing architecture for embedded applications. Thanks to the flexible and cost-saving features, images can be processed efficiently.
BCON for MIPI
Thanks to BCON, this technology – originally designed for consumer cell phone modules – is now enhanced with important Machine Vision features (such as individual image capture and highly differentiated camera configuration options) and integrated into the GenICam standard: MIPI becomes BCON for MIPI.
MIPI CSI-2 is a camera interface standardized by the Mobile Industry Processor Interface Alliance (MIPI). CSI-2 stands for Camera Serial Interface of the 2nd generation. CSI-2 is currently the most important camera interface for mobile applications and is used e.g. to connect cell phone camera modules to cell phone processors. Since nearly all processors (SoC, system on chip) used in the embedded area also typically have two CSI-2 interfaces, BCON for MIPI is an ideal broadband (up to 750 MB/s) and economical solution for a direct connection of dart camera modules to embedded SoCs, since no other hardware is required. In combination with Basler’s provided drivers for the supported platforms and the pylon Camera Software Suite, it is possible to operate dart camera modules virtually via plug and play, without any additional integration costs.
BCON for LVDS
LVDS (Low Voltage Differential Signaling) is a standard interface for high-speed data transmission, although the image transmission is not defined in detail. Basler, with its around 30 years of experience in Machine Vision, developed a lean protocol that ensures high bandwidth for the reliable image data transfer The resulting BCON for LVDS interface offers the highest flexibility for the connection to LDVS-based technology such as FPGAs (Field Programmable Gate Array) or FPGA SoCs (a hybrid of FPGA and processor units on a chip). Therefore, BCON is ideal for many applications, as it fits with a broad variety of systems and adjusts to the requirements needed. Combined with an FPGA, this allows for the most efficient digital image processing, which ultimately optimizes the total operating costs of your vision system.
Easy Connection via Flat Flex Cable
Embedded system integration with FPGAs or SoCs (System on Chip) is possible with the 28-pole connector. Besides the lanes with MIPI CSI-2 or LVDS image transfer, in- and output signals and power supply can also be utilized through this flat flex cable. Standardized CCI (BCON for MIPI) or I²C lines (BCON for LVDS) are also integrated via the pylon SDK for camera configuration. This interface setup allows the user to connect the camera easily to an embedded system via a single cable. Since flat flex cables are available in many sizes and technical designs, a lean, economical and system-optimized installation becomes easy.
Basler pylon Camera Software Suite
The reliable and user-friendly pylon API is also available for the dart series with BCON for LVDS and BCON for MIPI interfaces and supports Linux on x86 as well as ARM-based systems. The programming interface for the creation of user-specific applications corresponds to other interfaces, such as USB 3.0. This makes migration much easier, for example from dart USB to dart BCON for MIPI.
BCON for MIPI:
For the dart with BCON for MIPI interface, Basler provides its Driver Package, which virtually lets you connect the dart module plug and play to the supported processing platforms in connection with the pylon Camera Software Suite. Thanks to pylon and GenICam technology, a dart MIPI behaves like any other Basler camera. The uniform API of pylon, which can be used with a wide range of interfaces, makes it possible to reuse code already written for any Basler camera for a dart MIPI with only minimal changes, or to port an existing application from one camera interface (e.g. USB 3.0) to MIPI.
BCON for LVDS:
Based on GenICam technology, the camera configuration is performed via the I²C bus on the Linux system. pylon provides the required driver adapter as a sample implementation in the source code and as a complete binary. Users may take advantage of a newly introduced C-API hardware adapter to write their own I²C adapters. The sample implementation from pylon can be used for orientation purposes. Of course, the already compiled binary components can also be used as they are, without additional modifications.
Since pylon has no information about the users’ LVDS image capture interface, users must implement the logic for the image data transfer on their own. However, they can also optionally use the pylon C-API hardware adapter to implement the pylon image capture functionalities for the chosen interface. Once this is completed, pylon can be used in its full scope, including for the image capture.
Basler’s dart Camera Module
Basler offers the BCON interface for the dart board level cameras. It can be used in a wide range of image processing applications for embedded systems. A combination with the dart camera series is an ideal choice for cost reductions in the configuration and operation of your system. The dart BCON is especially well-suited for use with embedded processing boards and enables leanest possible sensor-front and vision architecture. BCON also enables the developer of an embedded system to switch from one dart camera model to another without any additional integration costs or effort.
Embedded technology experts are also impressed with the dart models’ compact board-level design and high-performance image optimization features: these can be applied either directly in the camera (dart USB, dart LVDS), which results in maximum flexibility and independence of a target system, or by using the high-performance image signal processor (ISP) of the corresponding target SoC, which enables an extremely lean and economical setup. With 30 years of technology leadership and a position as key driver of international interface standards, Basler ensures the high quality, performance, reliability and efficiency of your vision system with the dart camera family.
The choice of dart camera models includes, but is not limited to, factors such as lens mount, resolution, and speed provided by sensors from leading manufacturers. Secure your competitive advantage by improved performance and an optimized total cost of ownership for your vision system.
Camera Quick Finder
Basler dart with BCON
Discover the dart board level camera with LVDS based BCON interface.
Marketing Note – USB 3.0 vs. BCON for LVDS
We compare the camera interfaces USB 3.0 and BCON for LVDS in embedded vision technology and discuss their respective characteristics and benefits.