Socket based CMV12000 Image Sensor Frontend
The current batch of AXIOM Beta development kits use a Zero Insertion Force (ZIF) Sensor Socket to connect the image sensor to the PCB. The socket type is the discontinued CPU Socket 604, which is only intended as a temporary solution to allow developers to easily swap out sensors. But it has some drawbacks as it covers a hole in the PCB, designed to accommodate a metal plate through to the back of the sensor for heat dissipation. In preparation for scaling up hardware production of the Beta, we have redesigned the sensor frontend PCB to use a custom-produced socket for our CMV12000 sensor.
ESP32 Wi-Fi & Bluetooth Shield
There has been a lot of buzz around the new ESP32 SoC (system on a chip) - a microcontroller with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capability. This chip is being integrated into many IoT (Internet of Things) devices. We had previously planned to add wireless access to the AXIOM Beta with an off the shelf USB Wi-Fi dongle (image above). But this would mean a device sticking out the side of the camera. Also, maintaining driver and software support would be a challenge as there are many dongle manufacturers and models. But by integrating a standardised ESP32 chip, any Beta camera will provide wireless connectivity out of the box. The first board designs have been sent off to OSHPark for manufacturing. Once we receive them, we will test and report back.
HDMI Out Shield
Featuring the same PTN3363 interface chip as the Beta HDMI Plugin Modules, this shield will add one more HDMI output to the AXIOM Beta. You might ask why we need another HDMI interface as the existing plugin modules already provide up to three HDMI sockets. The long term development goal of the Beta is to allow internal high speed / high bandwidth recording of uncompressed raw footage onto solid state media (the CMV12000 sensor can capture up to 300 frames per second at 4K). For this purpose, the two plugin module slots (providing a minimum of 12GBps throughput combined) will be occupied leaving no way to attach a viewfinder or preview monitor to an AXIOM Beta configured in this way. This is where the HDMI Shield comes in. In terms of standards, this additional HDMI output will feature 1080p24/25/30 by default. The shield also hosts a NOA1305 ambient light sensor and GPIO with a flexible cable connector, which is intended to be used for interfacing the PCBs with buttons/dials and will be used to add standard camera controls.