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Low-cost IP camera design comes with Linux

Mar 25, 2008 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 47 views

Texas Instruments (TI) and Micron's Aptina Imaging division have teamed up on an ultra-low-cost WXGA IP camera reference design for surveillance applications. The DM355IPNC-MT5 design runs Linux on a $10 TI DaVinci RISC/DSP digital media processor, and has an eBOM under $40, the companies claim.

(Click for larger view of the DM355IPNC-MT5 reference design)

TI says the DM355IPNC-MT5 design has a low enough parts cost for customers to build digital video cameras priced competitively with traditional analog closed circuit TV cameras. The design supports analog output as well as digital, enabling staged upgrades to IP-based surveillance networks. Added touted benefits include:

  • Maximum field of view of 1280 x 720 (WXGA), roughly double those of traditional D1 cameras (720×486 for NTSC, 720×576 for PAL, like DVDs)
  • Claimed typical power consumption under 3 Watts

In high enough volume, the design's electronic bill-of-materials (eBOM) comes in under $40, according to TI. At the core is TI's DaVinci TMS320DM355 system-on-chip (SoC), which shipped last fall priced at $9.75 in quantities of 50,000. The design also incorporates TI's analog, power management, and logic technology, including the TLV320AIC26 audio codec and TPS23750 Power over Ethernet (PoE) controller.

The sensor is Aptina's MT9PO31/12STC part. The 7.13mm (diagonal) CMOS sensor is said to have a 5-megapixel active pixel grid arranged in a 4:3 grid measuring 2592 x 1944. The vendor touts low cost, low noise levels, low-light sensitivity, and CCD-like resolution among the chip's favorable characteristics.

Aptina MT9PO31/12STC sensor block diagram
(Click to enlarge)

As for the TI DM355 SoC, it weds a 270MHz ARM926EJ-S core with PC-style peripherals and an integrated HD-video encoder. It is claimed to draw only 400mW when encoding MPEG-4 video at D1 resolution, and only 1mW on standby. The chip is supported under Linux by TI partner MontaVista, while RidgeRun announced a Linux-based SDK for the chip last fall.

TI's TMS320DM355

The DM355IPNC-MT5 reference design comes with schematics and Gerber files, along with Linux application source code aimed at paring development time to four months or less, TI said. Provided code includes automatic white balance and exposure, simple motion detection, dual-stream HD MPEG4 and MJPEG video codecs, and DaVinci IP network camera software frameworks.

Stated Curtis Stith, Director of New Markets for Aptina. “Through our joint development work with TI, we are making it much easier for security system designers to make the shift to high quality IP network video.”

Other recent IP camera designs based on TI chips include Nuvation's IP Camera, and the Nexdome DragonFly. However, both are based on the higher-end DaVinci TMS320DM644x SoC.


The royalty free TI/Aptina HD IP network camera reference design is available for order now, and expected to ship in the second quarter. The $800 development kit price includes the camera, tripod, cables, and power adaptor, says TI, as well as a quick start guide and production agreement. Order entry and more information is available here.

TI and Aptina Imaging will demonstrate the reference design at ISC West in Las Vegas, April 2-4. TI will be in the Object Video booth (#15097), and Aptina Imaging will be at its own booth (#39008).

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