Suggest a good controller for my project?

Discussion in 'Embedded Systems and Microcontrollers' started by dmalashock, Jan 5, 2015.

  1. dmalashock

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jan 5, 2015
    Hi there all, it's my first time posting here.

    I've been working on some control systems for making imagery on vector displays (analog oscilloscopes etc.). Here's an example:

    My setup right now is a funny little rig. I've been using Max/MSP patches with three audio outs (for X position, Y position, and a third channel for modulating the brightness of the beam), going into a modified Vectrex machine, which is a home vector video game console from the 80s.

    The math involved is very simple, linear stuff; reading back from buffers and interpolating between points. The most complicated part is the rotation and perspective equations. But since I'm using audio for the DSP involved, right now my bottleneck is with bandwidth; the whole draw cycle needs to run at a faster frequency in order for the image to stay stable, especially if I want to film the screen. Even the top-of-the-line audio hardware only runs fast enough to provide for signals in the 20–20kHz range.

    That's why I'm thinking about switching to hardware. I figure I could either try to spec out a system and work with an engineer to have it built, or I could get a recommendation on hardware to use and try to handle it on my own. The number of choices is overwhelming, and I don't know where to start. I'm curious what you guys would recommend. I'm a programmer, so if a board could be programmed in C/C++ or something comparably abstract, I might be able to figure it out. Oh, and I'm on a Mac; I know programming some chips is done more easily on a PC, but I'd like to stick with the Mac for the work if it's possible.

    Attached are a couple documents about how the system is supposed to work. Ideally I'd write a Mac application that handled perspective projection, rotation, etc, and just output drawing instructions via USB, which the microcontroller would read and output the appropriate signals from 3 analog outputs. Take a look at the attachments for more info.

    Thanks so much for reading, and I hope this finds you well.
  2. JWHassler


    Sep 25, 2013
    Consider an FPGA driving three fasti-enough DACs.
    I don't know what your experience with FPGAs is, but the resources of even a lower-end device can really help.
    Here are some possibilities.
    With time. though, you will be tempted to move a lot of the arithmetic manipulation into hardware.