Avnet's MaaXBoard OSM93 Offers a Raspberry Pi-Like System for Energy-Efficient Edge AI Work

Built around the NXP i.MX 93, this module-on-carrier pairing borrows the Raspberry Pi footprint for an edge AI dev platform.

Avnet has announced the launch of the MaaXBoard OSM93, a Raspberry Pi-style semi-single-board computer that aims to deliver a platform for energy efficient edge artificial intelligence (edge AI) workloads — using the NXP i.MX 93 system-on-chip at its heart.

"“The MaaXBoard OSM93 Development Kit is a great way for embedded designers to quickly evaluate and prototype both the i.MX 93 applications processor from NXP and the Avnet Embedded OSM-SF-IMX93 OSM,” Avnet's Jim Beneke says of the board. "Targeting high-volume applications, the OSM 1.1 standard module is ideal for low-cost automated assembly, while lower volume applications can make use of the production ready SBC form-factor the MaaXBoard offers."

That OSM module is precisely why, despite sharing a footprint with the popular Raspberry Pi range, the MaaXBoard OSM93 is not a true single-board computer — a fact that plays to the benefit of anyone looking to go from prototype to production: the bulk of the hardware is located in the OSM-standard solder-down module atop the Raspberry Pi-like carrier board, meaning that it's possible to design your own carrier for the same module post-prototyping.

The NXP i.MX 93 at the board's heart includes two Arm Cortex-A55 application-class processors running at up to 1.7GHz, a single Cortex-M33 real-time core running at up to 250MHz, and an Ethos-U65 neural processing unit running at 1GHz and delivering a claimed 0.5 tera-operations per second (TOPS) of compute for edge AI and machine learning workloads. It's this which delivers Avnet's claim of a platform ideal for energy-efficient AI work, while an EdgeLock secure enclave system provides security for Internet of Things (IoT) efforts too.

Elsewhere on the board is 2GB of LPDDR4 memory, 640kB of on-chip RAM (OCRAM), 16GB of eMMC 5.1 storage, and 16MB of QSPI NOR flash. There are two USB 2.0 Type-A host ports, a USB 2.0 Type-C port, four-lane MIPI Display Serial Interface (DSI) and two-lane Camera Serial Interface (CSI) connectors, two gigabit Ethernet ports, and an M.2 E-key connector for optional wireless modules.

There's a 40-pin Raspberry Pi-style general-purpose input/output (GPIO) header, a JTAG debugging header, a four-pin analog input header, six-pin CAN-FD header, and a SAI digital audio header that works alongside two on-board PDM microphone sensors.

Avnet has confirmed it will be showing off the MaaXBoard OSM93 at Embedded World in Nuremberg, Germany, April 9-11 at Booth 1-510; the board and module will both become generally available in the second quarter, with pricing yet to be confirmed. More information is available on the Avnet website.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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