A PCI Express communication interface for DMP camera arrays
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Distributed Multimedia Plays (DMP) is a virtual collaboration system intended to provide real time audiovisual communication between multiple users. The system will produce near-natural picture and sound quality.This report explores the requirements of a camera interface unit forDMP. This device interfaces with several image sensors and allows them to communicate on a common serial communications channel based on the PCI Express standard. The noteworthy features of PCI Express are outlined, and the standard is compared to the alternative Aurora communications protocol. A functional prototype of a camera interface system has been implemented in VHDLand synthesised for an FPGA. The theoretical performance of this system is analysed and its suitability for use with DMP is evaluated. The results show that real time performance is possible with this architecture using a single PCI Express lane.As PCI Express is originally an internal computer bus, a simple test has been performed in order to determine whether it can be employed as an external communications interface. The results show that reliable communication is possible across distances of 1.5 meters or more.