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Future Electronics


Northern Lights Edge AI Demonstration Kit for Object Recognition-Based Motor Control

Designed by our very own Engineering Centers of Excellence!

The Future Electronics Northern Lights demonstration platform combines machine learning with vision and digital signal controller technologies to provide an all-in-one demonstration for object recognition-based motor control applications.

Northern Lights showcases multiple technologies from Microchip and includes:

  • A Video Board with a color CMOS image sensor and a low cost, low power FPGA
  • A Display Module with color OLED panel
  • A Motor Control Board with a digital signal controller

Many applications are addressed with the combination of these technologies including production line defect recognition and removal, automatic manufacturing alignment and calibration, object recognition and avoidance, and others, spanning industrial, defense and automotive markets.

The Northern Lights platform includes an interactive demo where a hand-drawn digit is presented to the image sensor, the digit is displayed in the OLED panel and recognized, and a robotic arm responds by moving an object to the corresponding digit location.

Northern Lights – Display Module, Video Board & Motor Control Board

Display Module

The Display Module features a 1.69-inch 160x128 color OLED panel, along with a fully reversible connector for flexible attachment to the Video Board.

Video Board

The Video Board captures images with a 720p color CMOS digital image sensor. It features a Microchip 28K logic element IGLOO2 FPGA which includes multiple communication interfaces, image signal processing, a convolutional neural network for digit recognition, and a soft RISC-V processor to configure CNN weights and for image output to the OLED panel.

Additional Microchip components include a SAM E51 microcontroller with 32-bit ARM® Cortex®-M4 processor, MCP2562 CAN transceiver, and MIC33M350 power modules. The board is equipped with a mikroBUS™ socket along with expansion connectors for the Display Module and Motor Control Board.

Motor Control Board

The Motor Control Board features a Microchip dsPIC33 16-bit digital signal controller with high speed pulse width modulation outputs for high-performance servo control.


Key Features

  • Flexible platform combining intelligent machine vision and motor control technologies
  • Multiple Microchip solutions
    • IGLOO2 FPGA, SAM E51 MCU, dsPIC33 DSP, MCP2562 CAN transceiver, and MIC33M350 power modules
  • 720p color CMOS sensor, proximity sensor and color OLED display
  • CAN, UART, USB and mikroBUS™ interfaces
  • Out-of-the-box demo which recognizes digits and moves robotic arm to corresponding position



  • Production line defect recognition and removal
  • Automatic manufacturing calibration
  • Object recognition and collision avoidance
  • Many additional applications in industrial, defense, medical and automotive markets
Northern Lights Development Board