Slice Your Next FPGA Design

A recent trend has been to convert high-level constructs into FPGA code like Verilog or VHDL. Silice goes the other way: it converts very hardware-specific concepts to Verilog and aims to be a more expressive and easier to use language.

Why Silice? The project’s web page enumerates its design goals:

  • A clean, simple syntax that clearly exposes the flow of operations and where clock cycles are spent.
  • Precise rules regarding flow control (loops, calls) and their clock cycle consumption.
  • Familiar hardware constructs such as always blocks, instantiation, expression tracking (wires).
  • An optional flow-control oriented design style (automatic FSM generation), that naturally integrates within a design: while, break, subroutines.
  • The possibility to easily describe pipelines.
  • Automatically takes care of creating flip-flops for variables, with automatic pruning (e.g. const or bindings).
  • Generic interfaces and grouped IOs for easy reuse and modular designs.
  • Generic circuits that can be instantiated and reused easily.
  • Explicit clock domains and reset signals.
  • Familiar syntax with both C and Verilog inspired elements.
  • Inter-operates with Verilog, allowing to import and reuse existing modules.
  • Powerful LUA-based pre-processor.

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Walking Through MRIs With A Vive

If you were to make a list of the most important technological achievements of the last 100 years, advanced medical imaging would probably have to rank right up near the top. The ability to see inside the body in exquisite detail is nearly miraculous, and in some cases life-saving.

Navigating through the virtual bodies generated by the torrents of data streaming out of something like a magnetic resonance imager (MRI) can be a challenge, though. This intuitive MRI slicer aims to change that and makes 3D walkthroughs of the human body trivially easy. [Shachar “Vice” Weis] doesn’t provide a great deal of detail about the system, but from what we can glean, the controller is based on a tablet and Vive tracker. The Vive is attached to the back of the tablet and detects its position in space. The plane of the tablet is then interpreted as the slicing plane for the 3D reconstruction of the structure undergoing study. The video below shows it exploring a human head scan; the update speed is incredible, with no visible lag. [Vice] says this is version 0.1, so we expect more to come from this. Obvious features would be the ability to zoom in and out with tablet gestures, and a way to spin the 3D model in space to look at the model from other angles.

Interested in how the machine that made those images works? We’ve covered the basics of MRI scanners before. And if you want to go further, you could always build your own.

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Command Line Video Processing Using FOSS


[Daniel Paluska] is getting away from the point-and-click by editing videos from the command line. Using the free open source software packages FFmpeg, Imagemagick, and Sox he produces new clips from multiple videos with effects like overlaying, slicing, and assigning each video to a different quadrant. The last option would be useful for displaying different angled shots of the same thing all at once but we’re sure you can find a way to use them all. He is using shell scripts to automate some of the process but the commands are still easy enough to understand if this is your first foray into these tools. After all, great video production will go a long way toward becoming an Internet sensation.