Connect USB device to Spartan 3 FPGA

I am new to FPGA's and its programming language VHDL. I am working on an Computer Science senior project and have a few questions.

1.) is it possible to connect a USB device (ie a digital camera) to the Spartan 3 FPGA? 2.) If it is possible, could someone give a quick overview or a good resource for me to research. 3.) If not, any good suggestions on how i would go about accomplishing my objective (see below)

My main goal is to implement a mini security system for our department. It is kind of like one those home security system you can monitor monitor yourself from the internet. I would like to connect a Digital camera directly to the FPGA board to get a picture from the camera. Next, once I have the picture some how email or send the picture over a network to another computer.

I have an ethernet card that can connect to the Spartan 3. But I was informed by digilent that "Manually accessing the Net1 module via a TCP connection with manual packet transfer is not supported." So as of right now I have no idea on how to email or transfer the picture over the network.

I know this is alot. So any information or insight would be greatly appreciate. Thanks in advance!!


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It might be possible, but it is very difficult. Most projects concentrate on the device side interface of USB, but you need to be the host side so that you can talk to the device. Thus you need either a USB host chip and somewhere to run the protocol software, or a microcontroller that has USB host capabilities.

Can you get your image another way? Perhaps find an older digital camera from before USB became the universal solution?

Not sure quite what they mean, but it is very hard to do TCPIP without using software for the stack. Perhaps not impossible, but to make your project reasonable you need a processor you can run your network software on, either in addition to the FPGA or impelmented inside the FPGA.

Taking a step back, what you are describing is really an application for an embedded processor with host-side USB and ethernet capability where most of the work will be writing software; it is not really an FPGA project at all, though you might with moderate to severe difficulty manage to make an FPGA emulate the chips that you should be using.

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