It aims to standardise the footprint and interface set of low-power application processors based on MCU32, ARM and x86 architectures for IoT
Marking a breakthrough in designing miniaturised modular COM/carriers (having a postage stamp size) in place of larger credit card-sized ones is the new OSM Computer-on-Module standard 1.0 (Open Standard Module), easing direct solderability and scalability of embedded computer modules. The new specification aims to standardise the footprint and interface set of low-power and ultra-low-power application processors that are based on MCU32, ARM and x86 architectures across different sockets, manufacturers and architectures. Target applications of the new module standard include IoT-connected embedded, IoT and edge systems that run open-source operating systems and are used in harsh industrial environments.
Besides simplifying and accelerating the design-in of processors, the new standard allows applications to become processor-agnostic, which makes them scalable and future-proof. Also, they protect NRE investments and extend the long-term availability, ultimately increasing the return on investment and sustainability of embedded systems. Thanks to the BGA design and automated surface mount technology (SMT), the OSM specification enables extra ruggedness for reduced
An open licensing model, such as the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license (CC B-SA 4.0) for certain materials, components and software and a commercial license for everything not belonging to this set ensures public availability of development data, such as block diagrams, libraries and BOMs of the developed OSM modules. Yet it is still possible to license the Intellectual Properties (IP) of a carrier board design commercially without violating the concept of open-source.
The new OSM specification widens the SGET module portfolio with solderable and much smaller BGA mini-modules. Even the largest OSM module, measuring 45x45mm, is 28 per cent smaller than the µQseven (40x70mm), a standard also hosted by SGET and 51 per cent smaller than SMARC (82x50mm). Other module sizes in the new OSM specification are even smaller:
⦁ OSM Size-0 with 30x15mm having 188 BGA pins.
⦁ OSM Size-S with 30x30mm having 332 pins
⦁ OSM Size-M with 30x45mm having 476 pins
⦁ OSM Size-L with 45x45mm having 662 BGA pins.
Compared to SMARC that specifies 314 pins and Qseven specification of 230, BGA design makes it possible to implement significantly more interfaces on a smaller footprint.
Detailed Feature Set
Depending on the OSM module size, the interfaces vary in type and design. OSM modules provide all functions that make up an open programmable embedded, IoT or edge system, including GUI.
Size-S module upwards offers video interfaces for up to 1x RGB and 4-channel DSI. Size-M modules can additionally support 2x eDP/eDP++ while Size-L adds 1x LVDS interface for graphics. In total, a maximum of 5 video outputs can be offered in parallel.
All modules from Size-S upwards further offer a 4-channel Camera Serial Interface (CSI). Size-L modules provide up to 10 PCIe lanes for quick peripheral connection, Size-M offers 2x PCIe x1 and Size-S 1x PCIe x1. Due to a highly miniaturised footprint, Size-0 modules do not feature any of the mentioned I/Os but offer all the following interfaces.
The OSM specification provisions up to 5x Ethernet for system-to-system communication. In addition, all modules provide 18 pins for antenna signals for wireless communication or the integration of field buses. Next, there are up to 4x USB 2.0 or 2x USB 3.0 (only in Size-L), up to 2x CAN and 4x UART. Flash storage media can be connected via UFS. Up to 19 pins are further available for manufacturer-specific signals.
Completing the feature set is the availability of up to 39 GPIOs, SPI, I2C, I2S, SDIO and 2x analogue inputs. As a safeguard and also to ensure that any future expansions are backwards compatible, up to 58 pins are reserved.
“OSM modules give ODMs and OEMs an ultra-miniature form factor with attractive pricing and high scalability. Since the modules are application-ready and come with all necessary software drivers and BSPs, and since the specification is open source – both in terms of the hardware and software – we expect them to be of high interest for the globally active embedded and IoT system development community,” explains Martin Unverdorben, Chairman of the SGET STD.05 Standard Development Team.
With all this OSM specification, SGET makes it possible to have the world’s smallest Computer-on-Modules.