Model-Based Design of Automator

  • In the era of Industry 4.0, next generation embedded systems will be more intelligent – deeply integrating the information and physical worlds. These embedded systems, referred to as Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) by scientists in Europe, will be deployed in the domains of automotive, aerospace, health and energy as well as smart city. Enabled by Model-based Design (MBD), the next generation of embedded systems will emerge, leading to significant cost-saving and improved productivity in the ICT sector.

    System-Level Virtual Prototyping of Embedded Systems

  • Performance-critical embedded systems consist of hardware, software and physical systems. In order to meet the sophisticated design requirements of these systems, ASTRI has developed innovative co-modelling technologies for systems-level virtual prototypes. The system architecture is based on the SAE AS5506B standard (Architecture Analysis and Design Language, AADL) and the AADL Behaviour Annex (INRIA Polychrony). Different types of simulation could be carried out at the system level, including Model-In-The-Loop (MIL) simulation, Software-In-The-Loop (SIL) simulation, and Hardware-In-The-Loop (HIL) simulation. System-level virtual prototyping involving an integrated simulation enables performance prediction of the system prior to constructing physical prototypes.

    Whitepaper on Distributed Ledger Technology

  • ASTRI was commissioned by the Fintech Facilitation Office (FFO) of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) to conduct a research project on Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT). The project led to the “Whitepaper on Distributed Ledger Technology” which documented the R&D findings. DLT, commonly known as Blockchain, is an innovative technology that has significant application benefits. The project’s key objectives have been to carry out an open-minded, in-depth examination of the technology and to identify possible applications of DLT in financial services by engaging in proof-of-concept work. Published in November 2016, the whitepaper aimed to provide the FinTech industry of Hong Kong with a comprehensive introduction to the technology. It also helps the sector in understanding how the technology could be deployed as an innovative solution to enhance and secure business operations while fulfilling regulatory compliance.

    DLT is an innovative technology that offers several benefits such as transparency, resiliency, auditability, and cryptography-enabled security. It is a vibrant technology that has seen prolific R&D work and a widening scope of applications.

    The paper presents a comprehensive study of DLT, especially on its key benefits, risks, and potential applications. It addresses security enforcement and regulatory compliance issues. It also demonstrates how DLT can bring in viable, valuable FinTech applications, with initial findings of three proof-of-concept exercises – mortgage loan application, trade finance, and digital identity management.

    The paper was enriched by valuable contributions from experts in academic banking sectors, as well as by a few groups specialising in DLT. The paper may be downloaded from the HKMA website.

    As DLT continues to evolve, ASTRI will continue its R&D effort in this area and its applications.

     

     

    A property transaction DLT system demonstrating ledger resiliency with transactions automatically replicated in multiple locations. In the diagram above, The transaction recording Alice selling the property to Bob is securely recorded in multiple banks and Land Registry.

    Demonstration of Hash operation which converts data of any size to fixed size unique values, regardless of how minor the data differ from each other.

    Proof-of-concept: A DLT-enabled property valuation where the DLT system serves as a secure ledger system shared by multiple banks and surveyors.

     

     

     

    Hardware Accelerated 3D Conversion System

  • Overview

    ASTRI’s hardware accelerated 3D conversion system is equipped with a PCIe FPGA-based hardware accelerator. It can expedite video conversion from 2D to 3D and enhance the resolution to UHD (3840×2160), creating refined 3D images of professional quality. This system is designed for medium to large sized production or conversion studios to accelerate the 3D video conversion or post-production processes and shorten the post-processing time to market. Its user interface is based on a professional video compositing software, Adobe After Effects, with a ASTRI-developed plug-in for the communication with the hardware accelerator.

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    Key Features
    • Automatic high accuracy depth map estimation can be achieved in most cases
    • Supports key frame insertion, allows manual intervention for complex scenes, supports a wide range of 3D output formats
    • Stereoscopic 3D: side-by-side, up-and-bottom, 2D-plus-depth
    • Autostereoscopic 3D: Multiview 3D with unlimited number of views for lenticular lens or parallax barrier
    • Supports up-conversion to UHD (3840×2160) @30Hz
    • Further enhances 3D quality based on the generated depth map, manual rotoscoping or post-processing in Adobe After EffectsInstant preview via HDMI output port from hardware accelerator board or graphic card
    • Hardware acceleration up to 6 times

    Hardware and Software Requirements
    • Windows 7 64-bit OS
    • At least 8GB of RAM
    • 512 GB high speed harddisk or SSD for output storage
    • Graphic card with HDMI (v1.4) for an output video resolution up to 4096×2160
    • Adobe After Effects version CS5.5 or above
    • One PCIe x4 slot for the hardware accelerator

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    Technology Licensing 

    The hardware accelerated 3D conversion system can be licensed to industrial partners in forms of algorithm, software plug-in, FPGA IC or hardware module.

    Cyber-Physical Systems

  • CPS (Cyber-Physical Systems) defined as the future generations of embedded ICT systems deeply connected between the information world and the physical world opens up a wide range of innovative applications and service in the domains of automotive, aerospace, health and energy as well as smart city. In the Fourth Industry Revolution, Industry 4.0, CPS is fundamentally changing the landscape of the manufacturing industry since that would require the evolution and even disruption in the process of how systems of systems should be architected and built.

    CPS CCG focuses particularly on Virtual Prototyping, which deploys Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) principle for supporting the system-level design and emulation of the complex system dynamics and the evaluation of the overall system performance prior to constructing any physical prototypes in order to reduce design iterations and optimise for higher levels of performance and reliability. New applications developed in CPS will have an impact throughout the value chain from system technologies to developers and operators.

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    Featured Projects

    • Collaborative Automator Systems
    • Model-Based Design of Automator
    • System-Level Virtual Prototyping of Embedded Systems
    • Model-based System Architecture Synthesis for Embedded Systems

    ASIC Implementation

  • ASTRI ASIC Implementation CCG transforms innovative ideas and designs into ICs and products. This involves various design processes covering architecture, digital logic, analog circuitry, physical, component simulation, system testing and software. The Group works closely with other Groups and customers to transform their architecture designs and logic forms into a production-ready silicon and system platform. The support model is flexible enough to balance amongst the various trade-offs based on diversified design scenarios and maximised design value.

    Applications

    The Group has been developing Analog IP’s for various IC applications. Both Analog IP blocks for SoC application and pure Analog base IC’s are supported. Some of the examples are multi-channel ADC for video application, Network Controller, Motor Driver and Ultra-low power timing control IC.

    Innovation

    Over the years, multiple patents have been filed and granted for several analog circuit designs in the area of low power and area saving. These innovations contributed to the success of ASTRI’s and our customers’ ICs.

    Communication

  • Smart Appliance Transceiver

    Smart energy and variable utility rates have become an essential solution for rising energy cost. With expertise in IC design, the Communication Group aims to bring further improvements on application designs to power-line communication infrastructure based on the HomePlug Green PHY standard.

    Featured Highlights

    Hardware Development

    • Complete SoC with Mixed Signal IPs (AFE, PHY, MAC) conforming to HomePlug Green PHY  standard
    • Embedded Power Meter
    • Reference system hardware

    Software Development

    • SoC Firmware Driver for control and monitoring
    • Reference Mobile Apps for remote access
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    Power Line Communication Solutions
    ASTRI PLC SoC ver1.0
    ASTRI PLC SoC ver1.0

    Applications

    The group focuses on developing applications for secured IoT devices such as smart home, building, lighting and will further extend to other applications such as financial transactions.

    Innovations

    The group devotes efforts in developing robust synchronisation algorithms such that the SoC can communicate with other devices in adverse power line situations. The embedded power meter within SoC allows convenient measurement of energy consumption on devices.

    Secured IoT Communicationicdd-communication-iot 

    Hardware Wallet for Crypto-Currencies

    The Communication group also develops hardware security IPs to improve overall security in IoT devices.

    The group has developed a mobile crypto-currency hardware wallet for storing private keys and signing transactions within the device. Special algorithms are developed to prevent malicious attacks and allow keys recovery if the wallet is lost.