Software platform eases data acquisition

January 10, 2017 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
In many cases where data are collected from peripherals or remote sensors, they need to be buffered, formatted and forwarded to a PC or other type of processing unit. With its ZestDAQ software platform, Oxford, UK based Orange Tree Technologies, Inc. helps users to make this task a fairly straightforward one.

The ZestDAQ concept is based on the finding that many data acquisition applications have a similar structure and thus a standardized platform would be beneficial for users. With this framework, the user needs only to create the application specific code to interface to their peripherals and format the data in a suitable manner for transmission to the host PC. This reduces the design effort for common data acquisition and control architectures, saving time for end users and enabling them to concentrate on their own specialized sensors and applications.

Consisting of multiple FPGA logic cores, ZestDAQ provides common IP interfaces across multiple boards, which simplifies the porting of designs between Orange Tree’s USB and Ethernet modules. It also includes a host software library and host software examples.

The software platform includes a wrapper around the Ethernet interface to simplify network communications, and a wrapper around the USB interface to multiplex multiple data streams across a single link. It also provides core code to simplify accessing the control and status registers in a board’s FPGA, and it supports multi-channel FIFO buffering of data in external SDRAM. The software is provided free of charge to Orange Tree customers.

The company has a range of Gigabit Ethernet and USB boards , providing high-speed embedded device interconnect, and including the latest FPGA technologies. By delivering a simple way to connect real-time devices to computers, the boards save time and increase flexibility for customers.