Embedded Video Processing and Radio Unit

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The embedded video processing and radio unit (VPRU) is a small, high performance single board computer for capturing and transmission of high definition video and for providing a simple TM/TC interface for the system it is built into.


  • Capture high quality video in 640x360 and 1280x720 pixels, 25 fps, progressive scan
  • Perform some basic compression of the video stream in real time
  • Provide a TM/TC interface to other processing units
  • Interleave telemetry from other processing units and the video stream and transmit it over a radio link
  • Receive telecommands via the radio and forward them to the other processing units

Nice to have requirements:

  • Pan, tilt, and zoom
  • Transponder functionality in the radio unit for ranging

Functional Overview


Development Approach

The VPRU is going to be developed in three incremental iterations resulting in three prototypes:

First Prototype
This prototype will focus on the video processing functionality and the TM/TC interface. For the radio part, a simple Wi-Fi interface will be used allowing laptops and handheld devices to act as hosts.
Second Prototype
This prototype will focus on the radio unit and implement the transponder functionality.
Third prototype (TBC)
This prototype will focus on adding the pan tilt and zoom functionalities and will be likely to replace the camera unit from the first and second prototypes.

Initial Analysis

Two processors from Texas Instruments are evaluated:

  1. The TMS320DM355 digital media processor
  2. The OMAP3530 application processor

Both are based on the DaVinci™ technology and contain hardware accelerators for video processing (both front end and backend). The OMAP2530 also contains a C64x+ DSP using which Software defined radio functionality could be implemented[1].

While these may not provide the best solution, they are relatively easy and cheap to get started with, because development environments are available in the form of the Beagle Board, the Leopard Board, and the Gumstix series.

To begin with, following borads have been acquired:

  • Leopard Board that comes with a VGA camera and a 5 Mpix camera.
  • Gumstix Overo Fire with the Summit expansion board.

Further References

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