Test & Measurement

Digitisers and AWGs now support ARM-based NVIDIA Jetson

19th March 2021
Lanna Deamer

Following a number of requests from its customers, Spectrum Instrumentation now offers driver support for the NVIDIA Jetson, a series of embedded computing boards from NVIDIA. The new driver package means that any of Spectrum's high performance Digitisers, AWGs or Digital I/O products with PCIe interface, currently 65 different cards, can be used with this small but powerful platform. 

The NVIDIA Jetson consists of an ARM CPU and a CUDA-based GPU for high performance parallel processing. In addition, it has one PCIe slot that can accommodate any Spectrum PCIe card. The high speed parallel processing of the GPU makes it a suitable platform for handling the large volumes of data that can be acquired and generated by the Spectrum products. As Spectrum already offers SCAPP (Spectrum's CUDA Access for Parallel Processing), the NVIDIA Jetson is a suitable fit. 

Widely deployed, the NVIDIA Jetson can already be found in in a host of onboard mobile platforms such as autonomous robots, drones, handheld medical devices, intelligent vehicles and smart appliances. In many of these applications, fast analogue and digital signals also need to be acquired, generated and analysed. That is where the Spectrum products come into their own.

The company currently offers 65 different PCIe cards that can be used directly with the NVIDIA Jetson. For example, Digitisers are available that can acquire electronic signals that may come from sensors or components in a system. Sampling, from 1 to 8 channels on a single card, is possible at rates from 5 MS/s up to 5 GS/s and with resolutions as high as 16-bit.

This allows analogue signals in the DC to GHz frequency range to be digitised, turned into digital data with exceptional accuracy and precision. The resulting data can then be rapidly transferred to the NVIDIA Jetson platform where it can be processed and analysed, delivering answers and information with unprecedented speed.

Similarly, Spectrum has a wide range of PCIe Arbitrary Waveform Generators (AWGs) that can be used as signal sources for controlling or stimulating other devices. Plug an AWG card into an NVIDIA Jetson and it can produce analogue waveforms of almost any shape and form. Models are available, with 1 to 8 channels per single card, that can produce signals with 16-bit resolution and output rates that go from 40 MS/s up to 1.25 GS/s.

The Spectrum product range also includes fast Digital I/O products. These cards are used exclusively for the acquisition and generation of fast digital signals. For example, a single Digital Acquisition card can be used to simultaneously acquire 32 digital signals at clocking speeds over 700 MHz!

Oliver Rovini, Chief Technical Officer at Spectrum Instrumentation, said: "It's always exciting when you can provide solutions that come directly as a result of requests from our customers. The idea of combining an NVIDIA Jetson with a Spectrum PCIe card is very clever. It allows the creation of very small, low power systems which I'm sure will find their way into a host of portable and mobile applications in the very near future."

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