Dev Kit Weekly: Penguin Solutions Inforce 6403 Hardware Development Kit

June 03, 2022




Imagine a police body cam. We’ve all seen, or, at least heard of those, right? Now, for first responders, what if those on-body systems were artificial intelligence-enabled and cloud- connected, capable of detecting and tracking faces, live streaming to support services, and saving footage into secure cloud storage. Things would certainly be more … transparent.

A body cam as advanced at that would need to be based on hardware like the Inforce 6403 Hardware Development Kit from Penguin Solutions – who, for reference, was formerly known as SMART Embedded Computing. Now, before you think I’ve lost my mind, yes, I know. This is way too big for a body cam unless that body cam is on a giant straight from the top of Jack’s Beanstalk.

Well, that’s because what you’re looking at is the carrier board that’s included in the kit to provide access to the 43 mm x 32.5 mm Inforce 6403 Micro SoM that’s hiding under the heatsink here. But if you look under the hood, what you’ll find is a Qualcomm QCS610 IoT Octa core System-on-Chip that integrates Qualcomm’s Kryo 460 CPU based on Arm Cortex-A76 and - A55 cores; an Adreno 612 GPU; a 1.1 GHz Hexagon 685 DSP; and a 14-bit Spectra 230 ISP capable of capturing 21 MP images on a single camera and 13 MP in dual-camera mode with zero shutter.

Essentially, the QCS610 Octa-core SoC is a brain for HD smart cameras, which can make use of the included H.264/5 and HEVC codec that supports 4K30 encode and decode. It even supports computer vision and deep learning via an on-chip Qualcomm AI engine.

Obviously, the benefit of having the Inforce 6403 on this carrier is you can quickly and effortlessly get into developing thanks to a slew of onboard I/O. Aside from a Gigabit Ethernet port and support for 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac 1x1 Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.0 wireless connectivity, you can see the board supports a couple different flavors of USB – a 2.0 host and Type C port – that are the primary points of entry for debug and development, but the USB-C also supports DisplayPort alternate mode, delivering 4K-DCI resolution at up to 24 fps.

Staying true to its multimedia intent, the Inforce 6403 also includes a:

  • 4-lane MIPI DSI with FullHD+ capability
  • Three MIPI CSI lines for super easy integration of high-res cameras
  • HDMI 2.0 port and ultraHD USB-C, both of which accommodate 4K displays

I don’t want to gloss over anything, so I have to point out the battery connector – very important for the applications in question – and expansion headers, SD card slot, barrel connector for supplying the 12 V/2A system power supply (the 6403 SoM itself accepts a 3.8V, 6 A input), and SIM card slot here. That’s important because as you may have noticed there are these Molex cellular antennas and even this Telit mPCIe module top-middle of the carrier, which are there for no other reason than to support LTE Cat-M4 connectivity.

The cellular subsystem has been pre-certified for use in the U.S. and Canada, and while it’s an optional feature that you can leave out to save some cost, this type of wireless connectivity is basically a requirement if you’re going to be doing any remote or mobile battery-powered stuff like object detection or facial recognition that have to report to the cloud.

So let’s take a step back and look at the networking options here: Cellular LTE, Wi-Fi, Ethernet, Bluetooth. Aside from perhaps its power-efficient computer vision and deep learning capabilities, this ability to transmit data over multiple mediums is one of the big advantages of this kit for IoT developers.

When you combine the native tools support with the compute capabilities and integrated connectivity, once you get your hands on one of these you’re really already halfway to creating your next intelligent IoT endpoint.

If you’re trying to get your hands on one, head over to the website for $249 to $369 for versions without and with cellular support. Of course, we all know how things are during this crazy time of supply chain fluctuation, so if you’re not able to procure one, another option is to enter this week’s raffle – and the best part is, if you win, you’ll get an Inforce 6403 HDK for absolutely free. We even pay the shipping, anywhere in the world.

Enter the Raffle Here:

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Anyway, that brings us to the end of this episode. Good luck bringing more intelligence to the edge, which should be a breeze with all of the integrated capabilities of kits like the Penguin Solutions Inforce 6403 HDK.

Thanks for watching, and we’ll see you back next time on Dev Kit Weekly.