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Posts Tagged ‘mcu’

EEMBC IoT-Connect is a Family of Benchmarks Designed To Test the Power Efficiency of IoT Devices

April 14th, 2017 No comments

EEMBC, the Embedded Microprocessor Benchmark Consortium, has been providing benchmarks for embedded systems since 1996, including ULPBench helping to rank micro-controllers by their power efficiency. But with the Internet of Things gaining traction, it’s important to test more than just the MCU core’s power efficiency, and having a benchmark taking sensors and connectivity into account would be useful.

EEMBC EnergyBench Monitor showing Accumulated Energy while running UPLBench – Click to Enlarge

That’s exactly what EEMC IoT-Connect benchmark family aims for with the three main characteristics:

  • Provides flexibility to accommodate various communication protocols (e.g. Bluetooth, Thread, LoRa, WiFi)
  • Portable to work with any vendor’s microcontroller and radio-module products
  • Compatible with EEMBC ULPBench and EEMBC IoT-Secure benchmarks

The first benchmark of the family is IoTMark-BLE connectivity profile that supports Bluetooth (LE) MCUs. The benchmark requires fixed payload size, frequency of transmission, and transmit power, and performs a complete sequence of event ranging from sensor reading, to BLE notifications, and command write and CRC.

The IoT-Connect test infrastructure is completed, and supports IoTMark-BLE, but to access it, you’ll either need to license one or more benchmark suites, join the EEMBC Board of Directors, or an application-focused EEMBC subcommittee. There are also special licenses for faculty members colleges and universities.

The next IoT-Connect benchmark profile will be completed around Q4 2017 for another communication protocol which is yet to be decided between Wifi, Thread, and LoRA.

You can find more details on EEMBC’s IoT Connect product page.

NuMicro M2351 TrustZone Enabled ARM Cortex M23 MCU is Designed for Fingerprint Applications

March 21st, 2017 No comments

ARM Cortex-M23 & M33 ARMv8-M cores were unveiled at ARM Techcon 2016 last October. They are the first MCU class cores to support TrustZone technology for better security, and one of the first micro-controllers to feature the technology is Nuvoton’s NuMicro M2351 Cortex M23 MCU designed for fingerprint applications.

NuMicro M2351 MCU specifications

  • Processor Core – ARM Cortex-M23 ARMv8-M core @ up to 48 MHz
  • Memory – 96 KB embedded SRAM
  • Storage – Up to 512 KB embedded flash with dual bank mode supporting OTA firmware update, 32 KB Secure Boot ROM
  • Display IF – 8 COM x 40 SEG controller with internal charge pump for segment LCD panel
  • Peripherals – UART, SPI, I²C, GPIOs, USB and ISO 7816-3 for smart card reader.
  • Security features
    • TrustZone Technology
    • 8 Memory Protection Units (MPU)
    • 8 Security Attribution Units (SAU)
    • Implementation Defined Attribution Unit (IDAU)
    • 2 KB OTP ROM with additional 1KB lock bits
    • Hardware Crypto Accelerators
    • CRC calculation unit
    • Up to 6 tamper detection pins
    • 96-bit Unique ID (UID), 128-bit Unique Customer ID (UCID)
  • Operating Voltage – 1.62 to 3.6V
  • Low Power Modes –  Power-down mode with RTC turn on, RAM retention less than 2.0 uA, deep power-down mode with RAM retention less than 1 uA and fast wake-up via multiple peripheral interfaces

The flash support XOM (eXecution Only Memory) mode so that part of the code can only be execute but not read or copied by other tools. If you’ve followed ARM Trustzone for ARMv8-M webinar, you’ll now that there’s both non-secure and secure code on such platform, and in the case of M2351 the user interface runs in the “non-secure world”, while the fingerprint code runs in the “secure world”.

The micro-controller is expected to be used for IoT secure connections, fingerprint authentication, EMV card reader, security alarm system, smart home appliance, wireless sensor node device (WSND), auto meter reading (AMR) and portable wireless data collector.

The company was showcasing their MCU and evaluation board at Embedded World 2017.

Currently the processor’s package is fairly large, but in 3 to 4 months, a 3×3 mm WLCSP package will be available.

There’s no information about the new processor on Nuvotron’s Fingerprint Identification page yet, but I found a few more details on Embedded World Website.

Via ARMdevices.net

NXP Introduces Kinetis K27/K28 MCU, QorIQ Layerscape LS1028A Industrial SoC, and i.MX 8X Cortex A35 SoC Family

March 15th, 2017 3 comments

NXP pushed out several press releases with the start of Embedded World 2017 in Germany, including three new micro-controllers/processors addressing different market segments: Kinetis K27/K28 MCU Cortex M4 MCU family, QorIQ Layerscape LS1028A industrial applications processor, and i.MX 8X SoC family for display and audio applications, 3D graphic display clusters, telematics and V2X (Vehicle to everything).

NXP Kinetis K27/K28 MCU

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NXP Kinetis K27/K28 MCU family is based on an ARM Cortex-M4 core clocked at up to 150 MHz with FPU,and includes up to 1MB embedded SRAM, 2MB flash, and especially target portable display applications.

Kinetis K27/K28 MCUs share the following main features:

  • 2x I2S interfaces, 2x USB Controllers (High-Speed with integrated High-Speed PHY and Full-Speed) and mainstream analog peripherals
  • 32-bit SDRAM memory controller and QuadSPI interface supporting eXecution-In-Place (XiP)
  • True Random Number Generator, Cyclic Redundancy Check, Memory Mapped Cryptographic Acceleration Unit

K28 supports 3 input supply voltage rails (1.2V, 1.8V and 3V) + separate VBAT domain, implements a Power Management Controller supporting Core Voltage Bypass and can be powered by an external PMIC, and is available in 169 MAPBGA (9x9mm2, 0.65mm pitch) and 210 WLCSP (6.9×6.9mm2, 0.4 mm pitch) packages.

K27 supports 1.71V to 3.6V input voltage + separate VBAT domain, and is offered in 169 MAPBGA (9x9mm, 0.65mm pitch) package only.

Click to Enlarge

FRDM-K28F development board will allow you to play with the new MCUs’ capabilities. It features a Kinetis K28F microconroller, on-board discrete power management, accelerometer, QuadSPI serial flash, USB high-speed connector and full-speed USB OpenSDA. Optional add-on boards allows for USB-Type C, Bluetooth low energy (BLE) connectivity, and a 5” LCD display board with capacitive touch.

Software development can be done through MCUXpresso SDK with system startup code, peripheral drivers, USB and connectivity stacks, middleware, and real-time operating system (RTOS) kernels.

Kinetis K27/K28 MCU family will be start selling in April 2017. Visit NXP K2x USB page for more information.

QorIQ Layerscape LS1028A

LS1028A Block Diagram

NXP QorIQ Layerscape LS1028A SoC comes with two 64-bit ARMv8 core, support real-time processing for industrial control, as well as virtual machines for edge computing in the IoT. It also integrates a GPU and LCD controller enable Human Machine Interface (HMI) systems, and Time-Sensitive Networking (TSN) capabilities based on the IEEE 802.1 standards with a four-port TSN switch and two separate TSN Ethernet controllers.

The processor especially targets “Factory 4.0” automation, process automation, programmable logic controllers, motion controllers, industrial IoT gateway, and Human Machine Interface (HMI).

OEMs can start developing TSN-enabled systems using LS1021ATSN reference design platform based on the previous LS1021A processor in order to quickens time-to-market.The reference design provides four switched Gigabit Ethernet TSN ports, and ships with an open-source, industrial Linux SDK with real-time performance. Applications written for LS1021ATSN will be compatible with the LS1028A SoC since the API calls won’t change.

It’s unclear when LS1028A will become available, but it will be available for 15 years after launch, and you’ll find a few more details on the product page. You could also visit NXP’s booth (4A-220) at Embedded World 2017 to the reference design in action.

NXP i.MX 8X ARM Cortex-A35 Processors

Block Diagram of NXP i.MX 8X family

The last announcement will not really be news to regular readers of CNX Software, since we covered i.MX 8X processors last year using an NXP presentation. As previously known, i.MX 8X family comes with two to four 64-bit ARMv8-A Cortex-A35 cores, as well as a Cortex-M4F core, a Tensilica HiFi 4 DSP, Vivante hardware accelerated graphics and video engines, advanced image processing, advanced SafeAssure display controller, LPDDR4 and DDR3L memory support, and set of peripherals. The processor have been designed to drive up to three simultaneous displays (2x 1080p screens and one parallel WVGA display), and three models have been announced:

  • i.MX 8QuadXPlus with four Cortex-A35 cores, a Cortex-M4F core, a 4-shader GPU, a multi-format VPU and a HiFi 4 DSP
  • i.MX 8DualXPlus with two Cortex-A35 cores, a Cortex-M4F core, a 4-shader GPU, a multi-format VPU and a HiFi 4 DSP
  • i.MX 8DualX with two Cortex-A35 cores, a Cortex-M4F core, a 2-shader GPU, a multi-format VPU and a HiFi 4 DSP

The processors are expected to be used in automotive applications such as  infotainment and cluster, industrial control and vehicles, robotics, healthcare, mobile payments, handheld devices, and so on.

The i.MX 8QuadXPlus and 8DualXPlus application processors will sample in Q3 2017 to selected partners. More details may be found on NXP i.MX8X product page.

Ambiq Micro Introduces Ultra-Low Power Apollo 2 Cortex-M4F MCU Consuming Less than 10 μA/MHz

December 18th, 2016 1 comment

Last year Ambiq Micro unveiled their Apollo Cortex-M4F MCU with Cortex M0+ energy efficiency thanks to operation in sub-threshold voltage (< 0.5 V), and the MCU is said found in Matrix Powerwatch, a fitness tracker powered by body heat that you never need to charge. The company has recently announced a new version of the micro-controller with Apollo 2 MCU with better maximum performance thanks to a higher maximum clock speed (48 MHz vs 24 MHz), and higher efficiency (10 μA/MHz vs 30 μA/MHz @ 3.3V).

apollo-2-mcu

Apollo 2 MCU key features and specifications:

  • Ultra-low supply current
    • <10 μA/MHz executing from flash at 3.3 V
    • <10 μA/MHz executing from RAM at 3.3 V
  • ARM Cortex-M4 Processor up to 48 MHz with FPU, MMU, wake-up interrupt controller with 32 interrupts
  • Ultra-low power memory
    • Up to 1 MB of flash memory for code/data
    • Up to 256 KB of low leakage RAM for code/data
    • 16kB 1 or 2-way Associative Cache
  • Ultra-low power interface for off-chip sensors
    • 14 bit, 15-channel, up to 1.2 MS/s ADC
    • Voltage comparator
    • Temperature sensor with +/-2ºC accuracy
  • Serial peripherals – 6x I2C/SPI master,1x I2C/SPI slave,2x UART, PDM for mono and stereo audio microphone
  • Clock sources
    • 32.768 kHz XTAL oscillator
    • Low frequency RC oscillator – 1.024 kHz
    • High frequency RC oscillator – 48 MHz
    • RTC based on Ambiq’s AM08X5/18X5 families
  • Wide operating range – 1.8-3.6 V, –40 to 85°C
  • Package –  2.5 x 2.5 mm 49-pin CSP with 34 GPIO; 4.5 x 4.5 mm 64-pin BGA with 50 GPIO

The MCU promises weeks, months, and years of battery life thanks to Ambiq Micro’s patented Subthreshold Power Optimized Technology (SPOT) Platform. Apollo 2 will be suitable for battery operated devices, or even batteryless devices leveraging energy harvesting such as wireless sensors, activity and fitness trackers, consumer medical devices, smart watches, and smart home/IoT devices.

Documentation and devkits are available but you’d need to contact the company to learn more. Ambiq Micro’s Apollo 2 is currently sampling to some partners, and will be sampling more broadly in the coming months. A few more details may be found on Ambiq Micro Apollo 2’s product page.

NXP LPC Microcontrollers Roadmap for 2017 – LPC800 and LPC54000 Series

December 17th, 2016 No comments

With the acquisition of Freescale, NXP now has both Kinetis and LPC ARM Cortex M micro-controller families. The company has kept selling both so far, but it’s unclear whether they’ll keep developing new Kinetis MCU family in the future. There’s no such doubt about LPC family with the company having published a 2017 roadmap for ARM Cortex M0+ based LPC 800 series, and ARM Cortex M4 based LPC54000 series.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

LPC800 series MCUs are promoted as 8-bit MCU alternatives, and three new models are expected next year:

  • LPC84x ARM Cortex M0+ @ 30 MHz with 64KB flash, 8 to 16KB RAM available in QFN and LQFP packages.
  • LPC802 ARM Cortex M0+ @ 15 MHz with 16KB flash, 2KB RAM available in TSSOP packages
  • LPC804 ARM Cortex M0+ @ 15 MHz with 32KB flash, 4KB RAM available in QFN or TSSOP packages

There will be new models of the more powerful LPC54000 series:

  • LPC546xx ARM Cortex-M4 @ 180 MHz with 256 to 512KB flash, 16KB EEPROM, 136 to 200KB RAM available in LQFP and TBGA packages
  • LPC546xx “Flashless” ARM Cortex-M4 @ 180 MHz with 360 KB RAM available in LQFP and TBGA packages

lpcxpresso54608-board

NXP will also soon launch LPC54608 development board (OM13092) to let people evaluate the new LPC546xx MCUs.

Thanks to Nanik for the tip.

Nordic Semi Unveils nRF52840 Bluetooth 5 Ready SoC and Development Kit

December 7th, 2016 2 comments

Nordic Semiconductor nRF52xx Bluetooth and 2.4 GHz solutions are very often found in development kits and low power devices such as wearables, and it’s no surprise that the company introduced a new nRF52840 SoC supporting Bluetooth 5, the new standard promising twice the range, and four times the speed of BLE 4.x, as well as ANT, 802.15.4, 2.4GHz proprietary, and NFC connectivity.

nrf52840Nordic Semi nRF52840 key features and specifications:

  • MCU – 32-bit ARM Cortex-M4 @ 64 MHz with with FPU
  • Memory & Storage – 256 KB RAM, 1MB Flash
  • Connectivity
    • Bluetooth 5-ready multiprotocol radio
    • Bluetooth 5 data rate support: 2 Mbps, 1 Mbps, 500 kbps, 125 kbps
    • 104 dB link budget for Bluetooth low energy
    • -96 dBm sensitivity for Bluetooth low energy
    • Programmable output power from +8 dBm to -20 dBm
    • NFC-A tag on chip
    • Single-ended antenna output (on-chip balun)
  • I/Os
    • USB – Full-speed 12 Mbps USB controller
    • SPI up to 32 MHz
    • Quad SPI up to 32 MHz
    • PPI — Programmable peripheral interface
    • EasyDMA
    • 12 bit/200 ksps ADC
  • Security – ARM Cryptocell CC310 cryptographic accelerator, 128 bit AES/ECB/CCM/AAR coprocessor
  • Power Supply –  1.7 V to 5.5 V; individual power management for all peripherals; regulated supply for external components up to 25 mA

nRF52840 is “on-air-compatible with nRF51, nRF24L and nRF24AP Series”, and target advanced wearables, IoT, and interactive entertainment devices (remote controls / controllers).

nRF52840 Preview Development Kit - Click to Enlarge

nRF52840 Preview Development Kit – Click to Enlarge

The company has also launched nRF52840 Preview Development Kit to get started with evaluation and development.  The development board is hardware compatible with Arduino Uno Rev. 3 to allow the use of common Arduino shields, and also includes 4 LEDs and 4 buttons, all programmable by the user. It supports Bluetooth 5, Bluetooth low energy, ANT, 802.15.4 and 2.4GHz proprietary using the latest S140 SoftDevice software stack, as well as NFC thanks to an external antenna included in the kit.  The kit is compatible with Nordic Software Development Toolchain using Keil, IAR and GCC, and can be programmed & debugging with Segger J-Link OB.

Samples and the development kit are available now at an undisclosed price. You’ll find more details about the nRF52840 Bluetooth 5 SoC and development kit on the product page.

OnChip Open-V Open Source 32-bit RISC-V Processor Launched on CrowdSupply

November 23rd, 2016 10 comments

Open source hardware gives mostly full control over software and hardware, but there are different levels of openess, with some companies wrongly claiming their product to be open source hardware – with a nice accompanying logo – once they dump some source code somewhere and publish the PDF schematics, while others are doing it right with the release of schematics and PCB layout in source format, as well as software and proper documentation. However even for the latter group, the actual chips are closed source bought directly from silicon vendors or their distributors. So the good news is that you now have the opportunity to bring the meaning of open source hardware to a whole new level thanks to OnChip Open-V 32-bit  processor that is open source, and getting launched on Crowd Supply crowdfunding platform.

open-vOnChip Open-V is based on RISC-V (pronounced “risk-five”), comes with peripherals, and should be competitive against ARM Cortex M0 based micro-controllers. The MCU would also be the first RISC-V chip available on the market.

Open-V chip specifications:

  • Processor – RISC-V ISA version 2.1 @ up to 160 MHz
  • Memory – 8 KB SRAM
  • Clock – 32 KHz – 160 MHz; Two PLLs, user-tunable with muxers and frequency dividers
  • Analog Signals
    • 2x 10-bit ADC channels, each running at up to 10 MS/s
    • 2x 12-bit DAC channels
  • Timers
    • 1x general-purpose 16-bit timer
    • 1x 16-bit watch dog timer (WDT)
  • General Purpose Input/Ouput
    • 16x programmable GPIO pins
    • 2x external interrupts
  • Interfaces
    • SDIO port for example to add a micro SD slot
    • 2x SPI ports, I2C, UART
  • Programming and Testing
    • Built-in debug module for use with gdb and JTAG
    • Programmable PRBS-31/15/7 generator and checker for interconnect testing
  • 1.2 V operation
  • Package – QFN-32
Open-V vs

Open-V vs STM32L0 vs PIC32MX vs SAMD21 vs EFM32Z vs LPC812M vs MSP430F vs  ATMega-328p

You can find the complete OnChip Open-V design, including the RTL (register-transfer level) files for the CPU and peripherals, as well as the development and testing tools in Github, all released under the MIT license. The source can be used to teach silicon designs, debug and correct errors in the chip without asking the vendor, and if you plan to roll your own cut reducing costs by cutting out licensing fees.

Development Board for Open-V RISC-V MCU

Development Board for Open-V RISC-V MCU

Now most people would not be able to do much with just the MCU only, so the company will also develop an Open-V development board with the following specifications:

  • MCU – 32-pin QFN Open-V microcontroller
  • Storage – 32 KB EEPROM, microSD receptacle
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 controller + micro USB port for power and data
  • Expansion – Breadboard-compatible breakout header pins
  • Debugging – JTAG connector
  • Power – 1.2 V and 3.3 V voltage regulators
  • Dimensions: 55 mm x 30 mm

The board will be programmed with the Arduino IDE, so it should be not harder than programming any Arduino boards, or any platforms using the popular IDE.

However, getting silicon to market is an expensive endeavor, and the only way to bring prices down to to manufacture millions of units. OnChip is starting small with a first target of 70,000 chips, which still converts to a $480,000 funding target. There are several ways to help reach that goal starting with a $49 “Chip Pioneer” reward to get on of the first chips to be manufactured, but the most popular reward is likely to be Open-V development board going for $99. Shipping is free to the US and $7 to the rest of the world. You’ll also have to patient, quite understandably due to the task at hand,  as rewards are only expected to ship in April and May 2018, unless you pledge for one of the most expensive rewards giving access to early chips in May 2017.

Thanks to Nanik the tip.

ARM Introduces Secure Cortex-M23 and Cortex-M33 ARMv8-M MCU Cores, and Bluetooth 5 Cordio Radio IP for IoT Applications

October 26th, 2016 3 comments

ARM TechCon 2016 is now taking place in Santa Clara, California, USA, as ARM has made three announcements for the Internet of Things, the focus of SoftBank going forward, with two ARM Cortex-M ARMv8-M cores integrating ARM TrustZone technology, namely Cortex-M23 low power small footprint core, and Cortex-M33 core with processing power similar to Cortex-M3/M4 cores, as well as Cordio Radio IP for Bluetooth 5 and 802.15.4 connectivity.

cortex-m33-m23-vs-cortex-m3-m0

ARM Cortex-M23

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

ARM Cortex-M23, based on the ARMv8-M baseline architecture, is the smallest and most energy efficient ARM processor with TrustZone security technology,and targets embedded applications requiring both a small footprint, low power, and security. Its power consumption is low enough to be used in batteryless, energy harvesting IoT nodes, and is roughly a third of Cortex-M33 processor size, and offers more than twice its energy efficiency.

Cortex-M23 is a two-stage pipelined processor, software compatible with other processors in the Cortex-M family.

You’ll find more information on ARM Cortex-M23 product page, and related blog post.

ARM Cortex-M33

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

ARM Cortex-M33, also based on ARMv8-M architecture with Trustzone technology, is the most configurable of all Cortex-M processors, includes FPU, DSP, a co-processor interface, a Memory protection unit (MPU) for task isolation, and ARM claims it “delivers an optimal balance between performance, power, security and productivity”.

The Cortex-M33 processor has an in-order 3-stage pipeline, which reduces system power consumption, and most instructions complete in two stages, while more complex instructions require three. The core also has two AMBA5 AHB5 interfaces: C-AHB and S-AHB, which are symmetric in nature and offer identical performance of instruction and data fetches.

You can visit the products page, and ARM blog post for further details.

ARM Cordio Radio IP

arm-cordio-radio

ARM has also introduced Cordio IP which offers Bluetooth 5 or 802.15.4’s ZigBee or Thread connectivity using ARM RF or 3rd party front-end. The IP supports TSMC 40nm LP/ULP, TSMC 55nm LP/ULP and UMC 55nm ULP manufacturing processes, and three solutions are available with Cordio-B50 with Bluetooth 5 only, Cordio-E154 with 802.15.4 only, and Cordio-C50 with both Bt5 and 802.15.4.

More details can be found on that ARM community blog post.