Intel Sends Out "La Jolla Cove Adapter" Linux Driver Patches As Part Of IVSC

Written by Michael Larabel in Intel on 20 February 2023 at 09:07 AM EST. Add A Comment
Intel this weekend submitted their Linux device driver patches for review concerning their La Jolla Cove Adapter (LJCA) hardware.

The Intel La Jolla Cove Adapter support consists of four drivers for USB, GPIO, I2C, and SPI control.

If the La Jolla Cove codename doesn't ring a bell, it didn't for me either and not many relevant hits in the search results. But Intel's ivsc-driver GitHub repository does cite the La Jolla Cove Adapter codename and connects it to being the Intel Vision Sensing Controller (IVSC) found since Alder Lake. These driver patches have been part of that IVSC driver repository but are now sent out on the kernel mailing list for review with working towards upstreaming the patches in the mainline kernel.

The Intel Vision Sensing Controller drivers are dependent upon some binary-only firmware blobs.

The patches this weekend go along with some patches submitted earlier this month for the IVSC media PCI support. From that patch announcement:
Intel Visual Sensing Controller (IVSC), codenamed "Clover Falls", is a companion chip designed to provide secure and low power vision capability to IA platforms. IVSC is available in existing commercial platforms from multiple OEMs.

The primary use case of IVSC is to bring in context awareness. IVSC interfaces directly with the platform main camera sensor via a CSI-2 link and processes the image data with the embedded AI engine. The detected events are sent over I2C to ISH (Intel Sensor Hub) for additional data fusion from multiple sensors. The fusion results are used to implement advanced use cases like:

- Face detection to unlock screen
- Detect user presence to manage backlight setting or waking up system

Since the Image Processing Unit(IPU) used on the host processor needs to configure the CSI-2 link in normal camera usages, the CSI-2 link and camera sensor can only be used in mutually-exclusive ways by host IPU and IVSC. By default the IVSC owns the CSI-2 link and camera sensor. The IPU driver can take ownership of the CSI-2 link and camera sensor using interfaces provided by this IVSC driver.

And from that patch series a diagram how the IVSC/ISH/IPU/Camera sensor all fit together:

Intel IVSC diagram

For those that forgot or missed the story, last year Linux's second-in-command Greg Kroah-Hartman recommended avoiding Intel Alder Lake laptops over the Linux web camera situation/support around the newer Intel Image Processing Unit (IPU6) support. The situation hasn't changed all that much since but at least this is connected to activity towards improving the situation.

Back at CES 2021, Intel shared a video of the Intel Vision Sensing Controller in action:

The Intel La Jolla Cove Adapter device driver patches are out for review here. They are too late for v6.3 but we'll see if this Intel IVSC support looks like it could come together for v6.4 this summer... Better late than never though some may not be interested in the functionality due to the dependence on binary-only firmware.
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