FPGA development boards have applications to a whole host of different industries. They are the most popular devices in precision weaponry and even in the cloud. However, FPGA boards are now used in the medical industry, as they offer tremendous benefits over traditional semiconductors. These boards have taken the industry by storm, and we slowly see them being used for many different types of medical tasks.
What Is An FPGA
An FPGA is called a field-programmable gate array. It is essentially a semiconductor with a blank slate. Your microprocessor can execute instructions, but it can only do that if the instructions are something it understands. Similarly, your graphics processing unit only knows how to do calculations and render an image on the screen. They come from the factory fixed to do a specific task.
However, an FPGA comes from the factory as a blank semiconductor chip that you need to program to do something. You could potentially program your board to operate exactly as your microprocessor or graphics processing unit. However, these devices are mostly used in industries where they don’t have dedicated processors for specific tasks. It is easy to program, and you don’t need to spend a lot of money manufacturing dedicated silicon. You can also change the programming as you learn more information, making these devices very flexible.
How Do They Work
An FPGA works very similarly at a transistor level, but the abstraction above makes all the difference. While it uses transistors like every other semiconductor, it also has reprogrammable gates that act as memory. It is essentially memory that you can reprogram to execute instructions. The basic unit of an FPGA is called a logical element. These logical elements can be connected to each other to form execution units. This ability to reconfigure themselves to changes in programming is what makes all the difference.