It is very humble beginnings at the moment.
My shine on board is on the way. I am also playing around a bit with an arduino uno and a breadboard. I am about to open up my AD2 to see what I can do with it. Just the little bit I have done so far has made schematics for the various dev and expansion boards much easier to read.
I started looking into the trace length, routing geometry, inductance, and capacitance; though I my understanding at current is only as far as what I read makes sense, but I couldn’t say it back.
My interest in high bandwidth has to do with cameras. I am interested in using an fpga for sensor fusion/ML/Vision, but even 5mp cameras deliver quite a bit of data. I have the pmod expansion card that lets me plug 4 mipi pcams into my zedboard, but I would like to have access to a dsi as well. I though about trying to make my own daughter board for my ultra96 with 4 mipi csi-2 and 1 mipi dsi, but a quick look at the spec tells me that the 96 boards standard won’t support it. I am not married to making a standard card, but I am not yet sure there are enough pins on the high speed connector.
Also, since I like using artix and kintex fpga’s in way that will require ram than I want to sacrifice in block ram; I will eventually have to be able to create a board that can support bga fanout and ddr.
I was going to invest in one of the new kria boards, but it seems like everything else, those won’t be available until the end of next year. All the same, I would really like to be able to make the board I want so I can get exactly what I want on it.
SOM’s are really attractive, but I don’t know if they will just be a cruch that will stop me from getting a solid understanding of this stuff. Then again, using an SOM and routing the 5 mipi’s to the main board would be a pretty overwhelming challenge for me at the moment as well.
I want to learn this right. Even though I feel like I am learning things that kids in grade school learn at the moment; I am trying to stay focused so that I can get a solid understanding eventually. I am hoping at some point 25+ years of software design proves to be an asset, but the fascination is how in how much of that I can push into hardware.
I also have a huge interest in the open hardware movement that RISC-V has started. I would love to be part of the design for open source IPs to help round out the next generation of open source SoC’s. I realize I can work on this without making any custom board’s, but in as much as this is a hobby project for me I want it to stay fun. That means I want to be able to build fun things.
At the moment I am probably one of countless people interested in the VR/AR technology. I would love to make a headset. Of course, I have already figured out that the optical requirement there makes electronics a small part of a much more difficult problem.
My interim goal is to make programmable toys for my daughter. She is only 2 so she is not likely to be very interested now, but that is ok because I have a lot to learn. I suppose that puts me on the robot/drone path until I can graduate to some of the the bigger problems.