Microprocessor Based Design

Design Interface designs have used many different microprocessors to address disparate applications and client requirements, from 8 bit microcontrollers up to 64 bit super-scalar processors with appropriate memory, I/O systems and power supplies. Communications and control oriented systems have used both integer and floating point digital signal processors.

Multiprocessor designs have become something of a speciality, both symmetric and master / slave processor farms, implemented with shared memory or message passing interfaces. Here it is vitally important to provide sufficient memory, inter-processor communication and I/O bandwidth to fit the application and to match the requirements of the processors. To help maximise efficiency and facilitate load balancing hardware support can be provided for memory coherency, resource interlocking and performance monitoring.

At the other end of the application spectrum are embedded microcontroller based systems. Here the bulk of the hardware design effort is generally spent on the I/O interfaces to the transducers and actuators that allow the processor to accurately monitor and control the attached system.

Multiprocessor Intel XScale System

In response to a client's requirement for extremely high computation rates on a half size PCI card Design Interface Ltd has developed a multiprocessor system based on the Intel 80200 chip. Up to 4 80200 processors may be mounted on the card, an efficient and programmable arbiter ensures fast access to the system resources. Up to 128 MB of SDRAM is supported by a controller that can activate up to 4 internal SDRAM banks simultaneously and seamlessly switch between them. All of the on-board logic such as the SDRAM controller, interrupt controller, status and control registers and a full speed PCI interface with DMA are implemented in an FPGA. Flash memory, UARTs, real time clock and USB are also supported.

This particular board has been developed for a client's specific application and includes ASIC accelerators to meet that requirement, it is not for general sale. However, Design Interface Ltd is well placed to implement any microprocessor based system that you may require.

This picture shows a prototype board which has several 'Mictor' connectors to facilitate logic analysis.

Multiple Intel Xscale board

Intel PCA Developer Network

Design Interface is a member of the Intel(R) PCA Developer Network.

Remote Controller for ROV


This ROV remote control unit connects to application software running on a PC, an interface board then connects the PC to the ROV through an umbilical cable. One joystick controls the ROV in pitch, roll and yaw, the second controls the aim and zoom of cameras carried by the ROV. The brightness of a number of high powered LED lamps is determined by rotary controls.