I'm very new to FPGA. I got a Spartan-6 from Digilent. As my final year project I want to do image processing through it. How can MATLAB & Simulink be used for this? How should the camera be connected to the board? Through HDMI or USB?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Which camera are you using? \$\endgroup\$ Apr 6, 2011 at 16:25

2 Answers 2


You're very new to FPGAs and you want to do image processing? I'm no expert but that sounds like biting off a lot more than you can chew. Can you answer any of these questions:

  • What image processing algorithm do you want to implement? Can you express the algorithm in pseudocode?

  • What format is the image you want to process? Bitmap? JPEG? What color depth?

  • What image sensor have you chosen? What resolution is it? Is it grayscale or color?

  • Do you have a basic block diagram of the system? Can you show us?

If you haven't thought about any of these questions or don't understand the terms I'm using then this project probably isn't for you.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Very sound advice, despite the harsh tone. Also, have you considered whether FPGA is really the way to go? There seem to be a lot of FPGA-for-FPGA's-sake projects going around these days. \$\endgroup\$
    – drxzcl
    Apr 7, 2011 at 7:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't find the answer to be harsh, just some good questions the poster should ask himself. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 7, 2011 at 8:48
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Don't say that! He's the AngryEE, he's got a reputation to protect! ;) \$\endgroup\$
    – drxzcl
    Apr 7, 2011 at 8:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ So true, but I try not to be too angry because it puts people off. Still, I think some people need to realize that the cool-sounding projects they hear about online or in magazines represent weeks or months of work and are not straightforward, simple and fun. \$\endgroup\$
    – AngryEE
    Apr 7, 2011 at 11:57

Big question - I've started a series of articles about developing image processing systems in FPGAs. It's not complete yet, but it may give you some ideas. The first one is here

If you can get a sensor which directly connects to the FPGA pins (ie a clock, couple of sync pins and some data pins) you'll get going much quicker than having to pull data over USB/Firewire/etc.

Update: 2022-01-23

Although the original links above appear to be invalid at the moment, versions of those webpages are currently available at the links below:

  • \$\begingroup\$ Fantastic blog you have there!! \$\endgroup\$
    – Kevin Boyd
    Nov 10, 2011 at 21:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ Unfortunately, the links in this answer are now dead. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dave Tweed
    Jan 23 at 15:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DaveTweed - Thanks for highlighting the problem. I've added links to the best copies of those pages I can find on Archive.org and the new URL on the live site for one of the links. \$\endgroup\$
    – SamGibson
    Jan 23 at 16:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SamGibson thanks for adding those links - I thought I had got redirects in place when I rebuilt the site a few years ago, but it seems I missed some :( I'll take another look ! \$\endgroup\$ Jan 24 at 10:16
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @SamGibson - appreciated - thanks :) (It turns out, I appear to have lost the images (or at least the links to them) in the transition from Drupal many years ago, so it's more than a quick re-direct. I shall have the delve the backups :( For now archive.org is what we have... \$\endgroup\$ Jan 24 at 20:46

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