Application Highlight: Advantech MIO-4370 Brings Powerful Processing to Robotics, Healthcare

December 04, 2023

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Application Highlight: Advantech MIO-4370 Brings Powerful Processing to Robotics, Healthcare

Next-generation applications require extraordinary processing power and agility to bring about the potential needed for critical use cases using AI, such as smart service robotics, industrial automation, healthcare, or high-speed testing.

On the robotics side, one of the coolest examples is the RoomieBot, a mobile service robot that is designed to use AI at the edge, machine vision, and natural language processing (NLP) to aid humans working and living in healthcare, retail, and hospitality. This kind of mobile service robot needs modular hardware that blends performance, efficiency, and advanced software support.

RoomieBot is built using Intel RealSense cameras, Intel Movidius VPUs, and Intel NUC platforms that, combined as a suite of sensors and controllers, act to create the vision and compute functionality required for:

  • Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM) to navigate autonomously
  • Visual detection algorithms to recognize people and objects
  • NLP for the voice user interface
  • Functions that control embedded motors and actuators

The next step in improving this type of service robot, and many other applications, is adopting newer and more powerful processing like the 12th generation Intel Core processors. These latest Intel Core processors reportedly improve upon the 8th generation Intel NUCs thanks to eight additional cores that Intel says are the first to introduce a hybrid core architecture consisting of traditional Performance CPUs and a new class of Efficient cores that are optimized for less computationally intensive workloads like system management and control tasks.

Most notably for Edge applications like robotics, that added power comes at a minimal cost. In fact, the Intel Core i7-12700TE processor features a base TDP of just 35W compared to the 28W TDP of the 8th generation mobile processor examined previously. For mobile service robots, this facilitates the execution of sophisticated edge AI stacks without additionally draining onboard batteries.

This technology also translates easily to other applications like factory automation, high-speed testing, and healthcare. In healthcare particularly, leading-edge performance, connectivity, and efficiency are critical to effective operation in life and death situations, whether they be in research, radiography, or surgical suite. These medical use cases require a powerful combination of I/O and high computing power for all its applications that require breakthrough performance, and these new processors are the only way to create that power.

Advantech MIO-4370

The MIO-4370 from Advantech already supports 35W 12th gen Intel Core Desktop processors with up to 16 hybrid cores and 24 execution threads. Designed to the 4” EPIC size 165 x 115mm (4.53” x 6.5”), this small form factor single-board computer is set to provide OEMs and system integrators the kind of rugged edge intelligence module ready for modern mobile service robots, healthcare, and all the other applications. The MIO includes:

  • High-bandwidth I/O and serial ports for visual inputs, perception sensor suites, control signaling, programming, and debug
  • Support for 3x simultaneous interactive displays at up to 5K resolution
  • Networking and expansion that includes two 2.5 GbE interfaces with Time-Sensitive Networking (TSN) and Intel vPro support
  • 3x M.2 expansion sockets including 2x M.2 2280 PCIe 4.0 and PCIe 5.0, supports use of high-speed NVMe storage along with video transcoding, capture, or xPU acceleration cards
  • Smart fan, discrete TPM 2.0 for security, and audio subsystem for voice communication

There are so many possible needed use cases within the scope outlined for this next generation of processors, so Advantech has pre-certified the SBC to work with the Canonical Ubuntu Linux that enables containerized application development. With this OS, each container comes with its own system image, so programs can be coded free of dependencies or other system requirements. In the end, development time is reduced, and compliance efforts are easier thanks to compartmentalization.

MIO-4370 features 12th/13th gen Intel Core processors that are the first to introduce a hybrid core architecture consisting of traditional Performance CPUs and a new class of Efficient cores. This allows for execution of sophisticated edge AI stacks without instantly draining onboard batteries. It leverages Intel performance hybrid architectures that combine eight Performance-cores (P-core) and sixteen Efficiency-cores (E-core) into a single die. These CPUs use DDR5 memory and PCIe Gen5 to deliver superior performance and next-generation connectivity.

Platforms like the MIO-4370 are more than just intelligent controllers. These embedded systems act like modular building blocks for advanced applications like mobile service robots and healthcare that are higher performance, lower power, faster to develop, and more cost-effective than ever before.

We may not quite be at the phase of robotic home butlers or AI emergency room triage, but platforms like the Advantech MIO-4370 are getting us closer, and leading the way on performance, efficiency, and safety.

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