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Fidus Solution Portfolio

We transform ideas, visions and concepts into products.

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INDUSTRY: Communications

Fiber-Optic Transceiver

DESCRIPTION: This board is characterized by 10Gbps tracks carefully laid out on a mixed technology (Rogers/FR4) circuit board. With that said, ultimately this system was used to verify a new concept in high-speed transceivers. The high-speed test traffic was generated using an Altera® FPGA. This board, reflected our expertise in high-speed signal integrity and has paved the road to our efforts at 28Gbps+.

TECHNOLOGIES: 10Gbps, transceivers, Altera® FPGA, mixed technology, Rogers, FR4

INDUSTRY: Communications

Wireless Access Point for high-traffic
outdoor venues

DESCRIPTION: This main control card is used in a pole-mount system that provides wireless access and backhaul functionality. Being an outdoor, pole-mount application, conductive cooling, and wide temperature operation were critical design factors. An onboard Intel® PowerPC® processor supervises a multi-port L2+ DRAM-enabled switching structure. Additionally, there is a robust, seamless switching power circuit to provide battery back-up and charging and lightning protection circuitry to help ensure reliable operation.

TECHNOLOGIES: Intel PowerPC, I2C, SPI, JTAG, PCI, Ethernet Switching, DRAM, battery charger, conductive cooling, FPGA, radio card support, multiple power source selection and switching

INDUSTRY: Communications

DSL Semiconductor
Qualification Platform

DESCRIPTION: This system was designed for a semiconductor manufacturer who needed both a reference design for their customers, as well as an experimentation platform for their new central office VDSL chipset. The reference portion of the design was limited to 4-layers and was specifically designed with commonly available components. The control plane of the design contained two ARM® processors, and a mail boxing system. As per CO requirements, the system was -48V powered.

TECHNOLOGIES: ARM, UTOPIA, Xilinx® Spartan®, -48V, Central Office, SRAM, line protection, Ethernet

INDUSTRY: Communications

WiMAX Outdoor Access Point

DESCRIPTION: This full turnkey project involved all our disciplines: Hardware, FPGA, Layout, Embedded Software, Signal Integrity, and Mechanical. We brought in special dedicated test sets to verify operation and assess critical performance parameters such as EVM. We had custom cavity filters manufactured to achieve the performance goals.

TECHNOLOGIES: WiMAX®, pole-mount, mounting bracket, powder coat, CPLD, Ethernet, cavity filter, 3D mechanical, conduction cooling, EVM, OFDM, wireless, GDT, lightning protection

INDUSTRY: Communications

WiMAX Pole Mount Beamformer

DESCRIPTION: This involved design was made by designing and connecting four unique circuit card assemblies, and a large pole-mount conduction cooled chassis. The complex electronics relied on several Xilinx® FPGAs, a Freescale® processor, multiple -48V isolated converters, a great deal of analog circuitry, including ADCs and DACs, RF circuitry (2.5 and 3.5GHz), and high-speed serial links.

One of the most elegant solutions within this design was the RF connection block that allowed multiple SMP RF connectors to blind mate directly to the antenna array.

TECHNOLOGIES: Xilinx® Virtex-4®, Xilinx® Spartan®, Freescale® PowerQUICC II® processor, gigabit transceivers, -48V, lightning protection, Ethernet, SMP, differential high-speed connectors, signal integrity

INDUSTRY: Computing

A device enabling complete remote Server Management (monitoring, KVM, Power, etc.) for mission critical infrastructure

DESCRIPTION: This 133MHz, 64-bit PCI add-in card was designed to PCI Specification and is used to provide remote access control and maintenance of high-end servers. Capable of providing remote KVM services, and operation that is truly independent of the host state (including power), this card allows the remote system administrator to recover failing or failed hosts.

This product family features video capture and forwarding functions, USB, Ethernet, and PS2, interfaces. One of the highlights of this design was the power architecture which enabled the PCI card to run from PCI power or a wall adapter or battery back-up, and the ability to intelligently select and seamlessly switch between any power source. Intelligence was provided by an Intel® processor, an Intel non-transparent bridge, and a Xilinx® FPGA.

TECHNOLOGIES: Xilinx®FPGA, RGB VGA, USB 2.0, Ethernet, video capture and forward, KVM, PCI 64-bit 133MHz, I2C, SPI, JTAG, battery backup with onboard charging, RTC (real time clock), multiple power source selection and switching

INDUSTRY: Computing

A Solid-State Drive (SSD) for high-end, low-latency applications. Both SATA and SAS, 2.5”/3.5”, supported

DESCRIPTION: This rigid flex design was destined for high-end computer use. There were numerous signal integrity concerns related to a large number of high-speed multi-drop buses and the limited layer stack supported by the flex circuitry. There were also major power integrity concerns, as the overall package size and target cost could not support a generic spattering of decade capacitors; the power plane impedance was modeled, and a minimal number of capacitors were selected and precisely placed. In addition, the multi-gigabit interface and power inputs had to be proven to be extremely robust. Then, to top things off, a convection system was unacceptable, so we had to deal with all of the challenges of a fully conduction cooled design.

TECHNOLOGIES: Undisclosed.

INDUSTRY: Consumer

A GSM/Satellite phone for emergency applications for people working in remote locations

DESCRIPTION: This unit features an LCD, GSM, Satellite, GPS, and Bluetooth functionality all in a Li-Polymer powered handheld unit. The most challenging aspect of this project was obtaining excellent wireless performance with so many wireless protocols/antennas in such a small size. Fidus’ hardware, signal integrity, and antenna experts sized it all up, and made it work.

TECHNOLOGIES: GSM, Satellite, GPS, USB 2.0, Bluetooth, I2C, JTAG, Li-Polymer battery and charge circuitry, antenna location, LCD

INDUSTRY: Consumer

High-performance, miniature, ZigBee Module that enables 3rd party ZigBee designs

DESCRIPTION: Fidus created this tiny ZigBee® module to be used within our customer’s wireless HVAC control product line. The design, based on an Ember® controller, offered excellent performance and range utilizing a simple whip antenna that was also designed by Fidus.

This design demanded small size, extremely low-power, and low-cost. To keep costs to a minimum, Fidus worked with the crystal manufacturer to ensure that a standard crystal could be used, while still meeting the RF center frequency requirements. For further cost savings we restricted the layer count to 2, and ultimately replaced the whip antenna with a printed antenna.

TECHNOLOGIES: ZigBee, 802.15.4, antenna, printed antenna, UART

INDUSTRY: Consumer

Bluetooth-based Digital SLR Camera Remote Control for use with smart Apple® products

DESCRIPTION: This tiny little board was our first “Made for iPod” device. It was a sleek little, super low-power Bluetooth® transceiver that enabled a user to control a remote device with their iPhone, iPod, or iPad. To accomplish this, Fidus joined Apples MFi program, and designed in Apple’s “MFi licensing” components. Our customer wrote the app, and the rest is history.

TECHNOLOGIES: Bluetooth®, Apple iPhone, Apple iPad, Apple iPod, app

INDUSTRY: Consumer

Stylish, omni-directional, HDTV Antenna for high-density urban consumer use

DESCRIPTION: This device is an over-the-air (OTA) HDTV antenna. For this project we relied on our expertise in custom printed antenna development, wireless/RF design, simulation, and characterization, and regulatory approvals. To make it accessible to the masses, we also optimized the bill of materials.

TECHNOLOGIES: Custom printed antennas, VHF/UHF, transformers, wireless, amplification, s-parameters, simulation, characterization, regulatory, high-volume design, bill of materials

INDUSTRY: Consumer

Home Automation system enabling heating Control via ZigBee

DESCRIPTION: This board was designed for a customer in the residential and commercial automation market. The ZigBee® enabled solution provided building-wide wireless control over HVAC systems. Given the market segment, this product was built to be extremely reliable, easy to use, and cost effective.

TECHNOLOGIES: ZigBee®, HVAC, thermostat, home automation, commercial automation, mesh networks, relays, antenna, opto isolator, level translator, power supply

INDUSTRY: Aerospace/Defence

An airborne, VME-chassis based Search and Rescue AIS Radio

DESCRIPTION: This 133MHz, 64-bit PCI add-in card was designed to PCI Specification and is used to provide remote access control and maintenance of high-end servers. Capable of providing remote KVM services, and operation that is truly independent of the host state (including power), this card allows the remote system administrator to recover failing or failed hosts.

This product family features video capture and forwarding functions, USB, Ethernet, and PS2, interfaces. One of the highlights of this design was the power architecture which enabled the PCI card to run from PCI power or a wall adapter or battery back-up, and the ability to intelligently select and seamlessly switch between any power source. Intelligence was provided by an Intel® processor, an Intel non-transparent bridge, and a Xilinx® FPGA.This 6U VME form factor card was designed for a defense contractor who wanted to add AIS (Automatic Identification System) to their airborne search and rescue radar system. To deliver this product, we relied on our expertise in hardware, wireless, FPGA/DSP, and embedded software design. The system highlights include an AGC system to provide incredible RF sensitivity, and an FPGA-based software defined radio DSP engine.

To bring-up, debug, and characterize this product, we used The Mathworks MATLAB® to generate a large number of test waveforms that we then loaded into our vector signal generator. In addition to extensive laboratory testing, we also had the opportunity to test our AIS equipment in various cities including Montreal, New York, Philadelphia, Seoul, and Istanbul.

TECHNOLOGIES: AIS, SDR (software defined radio), Xilinx® FPGA, PowerPC® hardcore, VHF, AGC, programmable attenuators, power amplifier, VME, VITA, IEC 60945, IEC 61662, DO-160E, IEC 61993-2, ITU M1371, NMEA0813, conformal coat, sensitivity, intermodulation, co-channel, adjacent channel, rejection, spurious emissions, GPS, message, signal integrity

INDUSTRY: Government

Maritime AIS Class B Transponder Radio for pleasure craft, smaller fishing vessels, and yachts

DESCRIPTION: Having already developed an Automatic Identification System airborne receiver, we set out to design a compact AIS Class B Transponder for international maritime operation. Our AIS B solution utilized a Xilinx® Spartan-6® based software defined radio resulting in extremely clean transmit bursts, and an extremely sensitive AIS receiver. We wrote the AIS protocol stack to run on the onboard ARM processor. A vast number of different I/O options were supported. This system is a great example of Fidus delivering complex hardware, RF, FPGA, embedded software, and mechanical design- a real turnkey project.

This product was independently tested and complied with the international AIS protocol and RF performance requirements.

TECHNOLOGIES: Xilinx® Spartan-6® FPGA, uBlox® GPS, I2C, SPI, JTAG, software defined radio (SDR), RF, 1 to 12.5W transmit power, VHF, SMB, 10/100Base-T Ethernet, USB 2.0, UART, RS232, ADC, DAC, ARM processor, high power buck-boost converter, automatic gain control, automatic attenuation control

INDUSTRY: Medical/Industrial

Professional Blood Analyzer for use in Doctor’s office

DESCRIPTION: We assisted the customer with a number of items, including a RoHS bill of materials scrub/redesign of this mostly analog board. All modifications were carefully identified, the associated risks were assessed, and the appropriate updates were made. Clear concise reporting and documentation was critical due to medical industry requirements.

TECHNOLOGIES: Medical, Copper with OSP, RoHS, analog

INDUSTRY: Medical/Industrial

Industrial – Offline Power Observation and Characterization Device

DESCRIPTION: Fidus’ client needed an offline power card to assess the quality and condition of the mains. Fidus delivered this solution, complete with modified BIOS parameters. This project required knowledge in power supply design, x86 processors, BIOS and BSP design, FPGAs, and DSPs.

TECHNOLOGIES: x86 Processor, SDRAM, MSystems DiskonChip, FLASH, BIOS, BSP, DSP, FPGA, offline power

INDUSTRY: Medical/Industrial

Multi-Channel Mixed-Signal Daughter Board enabling FPGA Development for host of next generation products

DESCRIPTION: This robust, conduction cooled HPC FMC card was designed to interface to a large variety of host cards. It provides multiple ADC channel inputs, clock generation and low jitter distribution, power regulation and post filtering. Utilizing our lab equipment, the analog front-end was parameterized and characterized. This product passes high-speed serial data to the FPGA host card utilizing JEDEC’s JESD204B serial standard for data converters; the Xilinx® JESD204B IP core was utilized.

TECHNOLOGIES: ADC, analog-to-digital conversion, low jitter, clock generation, clock distribution, JESD204B, VITA 57.1, linear regulation, LDO, SSMC, balun, transformer, differential pairs, matching, network analyzer, spectrum analyzer, Xilinx® ChipScope, Xilinx® ILA

INDUSTRY: Semiconductor

Development Platform for the Xilinx Zynq™ 7035 System-on-a-Chip. Enables engineers with a starting point for their next generation product

DESCRIPTION: A multi-industry design intended to allow customers to evaluate and develop with Xilinx® Zynq™. Relying on our Xilinx Premier member status, we completed this design prior to the general availability of Zynq™, making this one of the first Zynq™ solutions ever created. This early adoption is a hallmark of Fidus’ technology-first attitude, and ensures that we can offer extremely early expertise in the latest pivotal technologies.

TECHNOLOGIES: Xilinx® Zynq™, DDR3 SDRAM, SFP+, LPC FMC, LCD touchscreen, I2C, SPI, JTAG, SERDES, Gigabit Ethernet, USB 2.0, UART, RS232, Pmod, point of use power supplies, power sequencing, power ramp.

INDUSTRY: Semiconductor

Emulation Platform for engineers to verify their ASIC code and thus de-risking millions of dollars and months of duration in tape-out

DESCRIPTION: We designed this ASIC emulation board so our customer could validate their RTL prior to committing to ASIC. Built around three Xilinx® Virtex-II PRO® FPGAs (the largest FPGAs in the world at the time), this board met all input/output requirements of the final ASIC, but also included the complexity associated with the multiple high-speed parallel links that allowed the FPGAs to communicate with each other. Note: This could now be done in a single Xilinx® Virtex-7® 2000T.

TECHNOLOGIES: Xilinx® Virtex-II PRO, SDRAM, PCI, PMC, Ethernet, USB, ASIC emulation, JTAG, I2C, SPI, MICTOR

INDUSTRY: Semiconductor

Development and Characterization Platform for a new ASIC enabling the manufacture to prove and demonstrate their new chip

DESCRIPTION: The semiconductor manufacturer asked us to design a board that they could use to both validate functionality as well as characterize operation by placing a thermal hood over their IC. This board allowed our customer to validate I/O operation, internal register operation, and characterize their IC across temperature.

In this type of development, we minimize the support circuitry so that we can minimize project cost, schedule, and risk. This includes utilizing off-the-shelf system on modules (SOMs; in this case a RabbitCore®) in conjunction with simple GUIs, to control the ASIC.

TECHNOLOGIES: Xilinx® FPGA, IC socket, MICTOR, adjustable power supply, RabbitCore®

INDUSTRY: Semiconductor

FPGA code to interface a Mixed Signal Daughter Board to an FPGA Development Platform

DESCRIPTION: We were requested to develop FPGA code to enable a high-performance ADC (analog-to-digital converter) daughterboard to interface to an Altera® Stratix IV® evaluation board. This solution accomplishes two things: It provides our customer with an additional method of evaluating and experimenting with their chipset, and, it provides a piece of IP that their customers can directly incorporate into their end design.

TECHNOLOGIES: Altera® Stratix IV®, SignalTap®, DC1564A, HSMC, FMC, DDR, LVDS


Proof-of-Concept desktop device that enables gamers to play in the newest, highest video resolutions and at the fastest frame rates

DESCRIPTION: The design utilized a DVI-D connector as well as a DVI-I connector. The DVI connectors were the connections to the outside world and directed data into and out of an FPGA. Both sides relied on a TMDS transceiver, and the analog portion of the DVI-I was accomplished using a Dual DAC. The FPGA was responsible for processing both the high-speed video data as well as the DDC (I2C) bus.



Video Demonstration for tradeshows showing the benefits of FPGAs in multi-image processing and picture-in-picture display. This technology translates to video broadcast and pro-sumer applications

DESCRIPTION: We took a Xilinx® ML605 development kit, an Avnet® HDMI FMC card, and a Panasonic® 1080p60 streaming camera, and made a video demo. The demo is set-up by recording four independent hi-def feeds into the onboard DDR3 memory. We then placed all four videos on the screen at one time, so before we store them into memory, we scale the feeds, and then dump them into memory. Next, we start the camera streaming live video. This live video is scaled, and overlayed onto the four simultaneous video playbacks. Building on this, we also decided to smoothly move the live video feed around the screen, rebounding as it comes to the edge of the display; all at full high definition 1080p60 rates.

This system consists of a Xilinx® MicroBlaze® soft core, a DDR3 memory controller, and a whole bunch of custom scaling, overlay, video processing, and movement code.

This solution has since been ported to the Xilinx® KC705 development kit.

TECHNOLOGIES: Xilinx® Virtex®-6, Xilinx® Vivado®, Xilinx® Kintex®-7, Xilinx® MicroBlaze®, ML605, KC705, HD, 1080p60, DDR3, SODIMM, I2C, HDMI, DVI, video camera

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