Finding the Brains for Your Smart City Application

 Today, cities and communities continue to face complex challenges, including infrastructure upkeep, population growth, and sustainability. Fine-tuned and seamlessly operated, these modern urban environments have advanced transit systems, smart grids, clean and safe neighborhoods, and amenities. Working together, new ideas and new technologies can enhance the lives of citizens and create a brighter future. Good quality of life involves enhancing every aspect of the citizens’ daily routine. A smart city ensures that economic growth and quality of life are sustainable, the environment and sustainable use of natural resources are key. A smart city must be a business-friendly city to ensure quality of life and economic growth.

What makes a city smart – digital infrastructure and technology. Procuring the correct parts for your smart city application is extremely important. When I was looking at it, I found some products that would work great for the intelligence portion of the smart city product. Here are some Microchip products I came across.

PolarFire Imaging and Video Kit

The PolarFire Imaging and Video Kit (1100-MPF300-VIDEO-KIT-NS-ND) is a low power, small form factor FPGA that works great for Machine Vision, Medical Imaging, Surveillance, and other applications.  It provides 4K image processing and dual camera sensors. The great thing about the PolarFire series is that prior FPGA experience isn’t needed. This kit and other PolarFire series FPGAs are for use with VectorBlox software. VectorBlox software allows developers to create low-power, small form factor Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning applications. VectorBlox SDK is designed to enable developers to be able to program an FPGA in C/C++.

Figure 1: The MPF300-VIDEO-KIT-NS PolarFire Video and Imaging Kit from Microchip. (Image source: Microchip)

Hello FPGA Development Kit

The Hello FPGA Development Kit (1100-M2S-HELLO-FPGA-KIT-ND) is a great kit for developers with low to medium knowledge of FPGAs. This kit offers quick start demos for FIR filter, FFT, FPGA core power measurements, image processing, and Artificial Intelligence. This kit also has Arduino & Mikrobus connectors, which offer flexibility when prototyping. There are a variety of expansion boards available, including MikroE.

Figure 2: Microchip’s M2S-HELLO-FPGA-KIT Hello FPGA Development Kit. (Image source: Microchip)


The EV18H79A Evaluation Kit (150-EV18H79A-ND) (Figure 3) was created for machine learning. It features the SAMD21G18 microcontroller with on-board debugger nEDBG. It also has a CryptoAuthentication secure element IC (ATECC608A) and ATWINC1510 Wi-Fi network controller. The temperature and light (MCP9808) sensors and add-on board with high-precision 6-axis MEMS (TDK InvenSense ICM-42688-P), allow for developers to collect data to train and create machine learning models.

Figure 3: The EV18H79A evaluation kit from Microchip. (Image source: Microchip)


The EV45Y33A Evaluation Kit (150-EV45Y33A-ND) is also a Machine Learning Kit. Similar to the EV18H79A it features the SAMD21G18 microcontroller. It differs in that the add-on board features the Bosch BMI160, which is a low power inertial measurement unit.

Figure 4: Microchip’s EV45Y33A Evaluation Kit. (Image source: Microchip)


The SAMC21 xPlained Pro evaluation kit (ATSAMC21-XPRO-ND) combined with the QT8 Xplained Pro (AC164161-ND) (Figure 5) showcase water tolerance and noise immunity on a touchpad. The xPlained Pro evaluation kit is based on the ATSAMC21. The QT8 showcases the robust Water Tolerant 2D Touch Surface solution.

Figure 5: Microchip’s AC164161 QT8 Xplained Pro board. (Image source: Microchip)

Microchip offers a wide variety of parts that work great for smart city applications. To learn more about what Digi-Key and Microchip are doing with smart cities.