Overview of the RiskFive FPGA System

RiskFive is a name of both a hardware board and a software project. The board is using the Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) technology for maximum flexibility. RiskFive is targeting deeply embedded applications where both the hardware interface and the processing algorithm are defined after the deployment. The FPGA allows for doing just that.

The hardware pins of the FPGA can be configured in field (input, output, or in-out). The FPGA configuration can be loaded anytime, turning the FPGA into a simple microcontroller, a multicore microprocessor, or an functional equivalent of the Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC). This approach allows to address many diverse applications using the same hardware.

RiskFive is an offspring of our single board System On Module (SOM) named MicroBone, shown on our main website SkuTek.com. RiskFive daughter card is the same size and uses the same connectors. Unlike the MicroBone, where we employed a hard silicon ARM chip running Linux, RiskFive relies on the field programmable gate array from Xilinx. The present board is targeting the data streaming applications, where the data stream needs to be directed to a host computer with very short latency.

This initial edition of RiskFive is composed of two boards. The FPGA On Module (FOM) is shown below. The development motherboard is shown in a separate page.



The initial release of the motherboard will provide a development environment for the FOM. Future releases will provide application specific functions, turning the FOM into a versatile data acquisition, an industrial controller, or an FPGA development system for electrical engineering curriculum. Our own primary interest is in Data Acquisition (DAQ) for nuclear physics, but RiskFive can target many other scientific and industrial applications.

The schematics of both the FOM and the development board will be released as PDF. Let us know if you are interested in the schematic files in OrCAD format.


Acknowledgements

We gratefully acknowledge the support by the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science, Nuclear Physics, under the DOE SBIR grants DE-SC0009543 and DE-SC0013144.

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Updated Jan/05/2018.
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