Welcome! This part of our blog will first teach you the basics of FPGA design and then go over each piece of our system in technical detail to give a better understanding of how everything works. This series will also give a better idea of why we made our design choices as we utilize the power to scale and parallel process on FPGAs.
The DE1-SoC development board is our weapon of choice for our project. This board features the Cyclone-V SoC which is packaged with an FPGA and an ARM-9 Cortex hard processor. The hybrid of the FPGA and HPS gives us the power to interface our fast low-level hardware design with a processor that can perform high level tasks for us. It features 1 GB of DDR3 SDRAM that interfaces with the HPS, 64 MB of SDRAM that interfaces with the FPGA, and a microSD slot interfacing with the HPS. This gives us plenty of space to store microphone data and the microSD slot gives us the ability to run linux on top of the HPS. The 24-bit audio CODEC has a mic-in, line-in, and line-out jack and supports sample rates from 8, 32, 44.1, 48, 88.2, and 96 kHz. The 10/100/1000 Gbps Ethernet port connects our board to the internet allowing us to share microphone array data sets to the rest of the world. There are plenty of other bells and whistles the board features, but the ones just listed gives us all of the tools we need to achieve our goal.