MCU-Based Blood Pressure Monitoring Eval Kit

Renesas Electronics has announced an expansion of its healthcare solution lineup with the launch of a new blood pressure monitoring evaluation kit. The new blood pressure monitoring evaluation kit comprises hardware and software elements needed to jump start blood pressure measurement design. The kit includes a pressure sensor, arm cuff, pump, electronically controlled valve, LCD panel and a reference board. The reference board incorporates an RL78 MCU-based ASSP (application specific standard product) that includes analog functions required for blood pressure measurement. Reference software and graphical user interface (GUI) development tool are also part of the new evaluation kit. Using the new evaluation kit, system manufacturers can immediately begin their system evaluations and significantly reduce their development time.


The Internet of Things offers consumers connected tools with which to manage their personal healthcare more efficiently. For instance, blood pressure monitors are already popular personal medical devices and the market is expected to grow further as blood pressure monitoring functions are incorporated into wearable devices. The growth of this market offers new business opportunities, but can also be challenging, particularly for system manufacturers who are new to the connected healthcare device ecosystem and may not have the built-in application-specific expertise. Blood pressure measurement requires a specific expertise, including filtering functions for extracting the waveforms required for measurement, making it extremely time consuming to start studying this area from the very beginning.

Renesas has developed the new blood pressure monitoring evaluation kit to alleviate the development pain points, providing functions close to those used in actual blood pressure monitors thus accelerating blood pressure measurement system development.

Key features of the blood pressure monitoring evaluation kit:

The new blood pressure monitoring evaluation kit comprises hardware and software elements needed to jump start blood pressure measurement design, including:

  • A full range of hardware components, including a pressure sensor, arm cuff, pump, electronically controlled valve, LCD panel, and a reference board that incorporates the newly-developed RL78/H1D ASSP with the analog functions required for blood pressure measurement.
  • Reference software that provides the algorithms required for blood pressure measurement and that can be easily modified, as well as access to smartphone applications, and a graphical user interface (GUI) tool.
  • A Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) module, which enables the measured data to be transmitted to a smartphone under the Continua standard blood pressure monitoring (BPM) profile is also provided in the new evaluation kit.

Development support with GUI tool, specialized for blood pressure measurement

  • The pressure sensor, pump, electronically controlled valve components, and pulse width modulation control can be set from the GUI tool. If the system structure is the same, the GUI tool can also be used for system evaluation of the actual application the system manufacturer is developing.
  • The IIR digital filter calculations required for extracting the pulse waveform from the cuff pressure output waveform during blood pressure measurement can also be simulated using the GUI tool. The digital filter constants calculated based on this simulation can be written from the GUI tool to the RL78/H1D firmware and verified in the actual application being developed. This significantly reduces the number of steps in the development process.

RL78/H1D ASSP with optimized analog functions for healthcare applications

  • The RL78/H1D is a new ASSP of the RL78 Family of MCU. The RL78/H1D, designed to control systems required for blood pressure measurement with a single chip. It incorporates rich analog functions including high-resolution delta sigma A/D converters, programmable gain instrumentation amplifiers, D/A converters, operational amplifiers, and other circuits required for blood pressure measurement, as well as timers for PWM (pulse-width modulation) control.
  • In addition to the delta sigma 24-bit A/D converters, the RL78/H1D also provides 10-bit sequential comparison A/D converters that operate asynchronously. This simplifies implementation of systems providing temperature measurement and battery voltage monitoring while measuring the blood pressure.
  • The Rich analog functions make the new ASSP ideal not only for blood pressure monitoring systems but also for a wide array healthcare application including biosensors.
  • Samples of the RL78/H1D ASSP are available now. Pricing varies depending on the memory capacity, package and number of pins. For example, the R5F11NMG 80-pin LQFP package type with 128 KB flash ROM capacity is priced at US$3.50. The R5F11NMG includes an LCD controller for arm- and wrist-type blood pressure monitors, and a 4mm x 4 mm miniature ball grid array (BGA) package for use in wearable devices.

Renesas plans to expand its range of solutions for the healthcare field and will continue to contribute to the realization of a safe and secure smart society, including the development of smart connected devices for the industrial and healthcare industries.

 

The new blood pressure monitoring evaluation kit is scheduled to be available for order from May 10 priced at $600 per unit.

Renesas Electronics | www.renesas.com

Software Speeds Safety Certification for STM32-Based Systems

STMicroelectronics has announced new free software for its STM32 microcontrollers. The functional-safety design package cuts complexity and IEC 61508 safety-certification costs for STM32-based safety critical applications. This resource is created for designers of STM32-based devices in the field of industrial controls, robots, sensors, medical, or transportation, which must be certified up to Safety Integrity Level (SIL) 2 or 3 of the recognized safety standard IEC 61508. ST’s STM32 SIL Functional-Safety Design Package simplifies system development and certification.

The SIL Functional-Safety Design Package comprises documentation and the X-CUBE-STL, a software Self-Test Library certified to IEC 61508 SIL3. The package is initially available for the STM32F0 series. ST will continue to introduce equivalent packages for all other series in the STM32 family throughout 2018 and 2019. There are currently more than 800 STM32 microcontroller variants.

ST’s STM32 SIL Functional Safety Design Package contains full documentation to support development of STM32-based embedded systems to meet IEC 61508 requirements for functional safety. The documentation comprises safety manuals that detail all applicable safety requirements, or conditions of use, with implementation guidelines to help developers certify their products to SIL 2 or SIL 3 in accordance with IEC 61508. Also included are the mandatory Failure-Modes Effects Analysis (FMEA), containing the detailed list of microcontroller failure modes and related mitigation measures, and Failure-Mode Effects and Diagnostics Analysis (FMEDA), which gives a static snapshot reporting IEC 61508 failure rates, computed at both the microcontroller and basic functions detail levels.

The software self-test library, X-CUBE-STL, is a software-based diagnostic suite for detecting random hardware failures in STM32 safety-critical core components comprising the CPU, SRAM, and Flash memory. The Diagnostic Coverage is verified by state-of-the-art ST proprietary fault injection methodology. Integrated with the familiar and proven STM32Cube workflow, it is application-independent thereby allowing use with any user application, and is delivered as compiler-agnostic object code.

TÜV Rheinland, a leading international certification institute for functional safety certification to relevant international standards, has positively assessed X-CUBE-STL-F0 according to the functional safety standard IEC 61508:2010. Detailed information of the certificate will be soon available on www.fs-products.com. Swiss-based sensor manufacturer Contrinex is the first to use ST’s Functional-Safety Design Package to certify safety products based on STM32F0 microcontrollers.

The Functional-Safety Design Package for STM32F0 microcontrollers is available from www.st.com, free of charge, subject to Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) with ST. Equivalent packages for other STM32 series will be introduced throughout 2018 and 2019.

 

STMicroelectronics | www.st.com

Linux Still Rules IoT, Says Survey, with Raspbian Leading the Way

By Eric Brown

The Eclipse Foundation’s Eclipse IoT Working Group has released the results of its IoT Developer Survey 2018, which surveyed 502 Eclipse developers between January and March 2018. While the sample size is fairly low—LinuxGizmos’  own 2017 Hacker Board survey had 1,705 respondents—and although the IoT technologies covered here extend beyond embedded tech into the cloud, the results sync up pretty well with 2017 surveys of embedded developers from VDC Research and AspenCore (EETimes/Embedded). In short, Linux rules in Internet of Things development, but FreeRTOS is coming on fast. In addition, Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the leading cloud service for IoT.

 Eclipse IoT Developer Survey 2018 results for OS usage (top) and yearly variations for non-Linux platforms (bottom)
(Source: Eclipse Foundation)
(click images to enlarge)
 

When asked what operating systems were used for IoT, a total of 71.8% of the Eclipse survey respondents listed Linux, including Android and Android Things (see farther below). The next highest total was for Windows at 23%, a slight decrease from last year.

The open source, MCU-focused FreeRTOS advanced to 20%. Last December, the FreeRTOS project received major backing from Amazon. In fact, the Eclipse Foundation calls it an “acquisition.” This is never an entirely correct term when referring to a truly open source project such as FreeRTOS, but as with Samsung’s stewardship of Tizen, it appears to be essentially true.

Amazon collaborated with FreeRTOS technical leaders in spinning a new Amazon FreeRTOS variant linked to AWS IoT and AWS Greengrass. The significance of Amazon’s stake in FreeRTOS was one of the reasons Microsoft launched its Linux-based Azure Sphere secure IoT SoC platform, according to a VDC Research analyst.

The growth of FreeRTOS and Linux has apparently reduced the number of developers who code IoT devices without a formal OS or who use bare metal implementations. The “No OS/Bare Metal category” was second place in 2017, but has dropped sharply to share third place with FreeRTOS at 20%.

Other mostly open source RTOSes that had seen increases in 2017, such as mBed, Contiki, TinyOS, and Riot OS, dropped in 2018, with Contiki seeing the biggest dive. All these platforms led the open source Zephyr, however, as well as proprietary RTOSes like Micrium PS. The Intel-backed Zephyr may have declined in part due to Intel killing its Zephyr-friendly Curie module.

Eclipse IoT results for OS usage for constrained devices (top)
and gateways (bottom)

(Source: Eclipse Foundation)
(click images to enlarge)

When the Eclipse Foundation asked what OS was used for constrained devices, Linux still led the way, but had only 38.7%, followed by No OS/Bare Metal at 19.6%, FreeRTOS at 19.3%, and Windows at 14.1%. The others remained in the same order, ranging from Mbed at 7.7% to Riot OS at 4.7% for the next four slots.

When developers were asked about OS usage for IoT gateways, Linux dominated at 64.1% followed by Windows at 14.9%. Not surprisingly, the RTOSes barely registered here, with FreeRTOS leading at 5% and the others running at 2.2% or lower.

Eclipse IoT survey results for most popular Linux distributions
(Source: Eclipse Foundation)
(click image to enlarge)

Raspbian was the most popular Linux distro at 43.3%, showing just how far the Raspberry Pi has come to dominate IoT. The Debian based Ubuntu and more IoT-oriented Ubuntu Core were close behind for a combined 40.2%, and homegrown Debian stacks were used by 30.9%.

Android (19.6%) and the IoT-focused Android Things (7.9%) combined for 27.5%. Surprisingly, the open source Red Hat based distro CentOS came in next at 15.6%. Although CentOS does appear on embedded devices, its cloud server/cloud focus suggests that like Ubuntu, some of the Eclipse score came from developers working in IoT cloud stacks as well as embedded.

Yocto Project, which is not a distribution, but rather a set of standardized tools and recipes for DIY Linux development, came next at 14.2%. The stripped-down, networking focused OpenWrt and its variants, including the forked LEDE OS, combined for 7.9%. The OpenWrt and LEDE OS projects reunited as OpenWrt in January of this year. A version 18, due later this year, will attempt to integrate those elements that have diverged.

AWS and Azure rise, Google Cloud falls

The remainder of the survey dealt primarily with IoT software. Amazon’s AWS, which is the cloud platform used by its AWS IoT data aggregation platform and the related, Linux-based AWS Greengrass gateway and edge platform, led IoT cloud platforms with 51.8%. This was a 21% increase over the 2017 survey. Microsoft Azure’s share increased by 17% to 31.2%, followed by a combined score for private and on-premises cloud providers of 19.4%.

The total that used Google Cloud dropped by 8% to 18.8%. This was followed by Kubernetes, IBM Bluemix, and OpenStack On Premises.

Other survey findings include the continuing popularity of Java and MQTT among Eclipse developers. Usage of open source software of all kinds is increasing — for example, 93% of respondents say they use open source data base software, led by MySQL. Security and data collection/analytics were the leading developer concerns for IoT while interoperability troubles seem to be decreasing.

There were only a few questions about hardware, which is not surprising considering that Eclipse developers are primarily software developers. Cortex M3/M4 chips led among MCU platforms. For gateways there was an inconclusive mix of Intel and various Arm Cortex-A platforms. Perhaps most telling: 24.9% did not know what platform their IoT software would run on.

They did, however, know their favorite IDE. It starts with an E.

Further information

More information on the Eclipse IoT Developer Survey may be found in this blog announcement by Benjamin Cabé, which links to a slides from the full survey.

This article originally appeared on LinuxGizmos.com on April 30.

Eclipse IoT Working Group | iot.eclipse.org/working-group

Software Aids STM32 MCU System Development

STMicroelectronics has extended its STM32 software ecosystem with a Sigfox package that simplifies development and gives extra flexibility to connect Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices to long-range, low-power wireless networks. The new X-CUBE-SFOX package is ready to use with ST’s B-L072Z-LRWAN1 Discovery Kit, which is already LoRa enabled through I-CUBE-LRWAN embedded software. Developers can now work with either of these established Low-Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) technologies on the same hardware, and create products that can use the two protocols individually or alternatively.

The Discovery Kit features the Murata CMWX1ZZABZ-091 module powered by an STM32L072 microcontroller, a sub-GHz radio transceiver SX1276 from Semtech, and is expandable via Arduino headers to add sensors or other IoT-device functions and capabilities. X-CUBE-SFOX contains a complete set of Sigfox libraries and application examples for the STM32L0, and can be ported to other microcontrollers in the STM32 family.

With over 700 STM32 variants, from ultra-low-power to high-performance lines, developers can leverage unrivaled flexibility to optimize the performance and features of IoT devices that take advantage of Sigfox services including basic connectivity, radio recognition, and GPS-free location. The software’s low memory footprint and efficient CPU utilization minimize demand for system resources, helping to lower bill-of-materials (BOM) costs and power consumption.

The X-CUBE-SFOX software can be downloaded free of charge from www.st.com/x-cube-sfox. The B-L072Z-LRWAN1 Discovery Kit is available now, priced $46.50.

STMicroelectronics | www.st.com

TRACE32 Extends embOS Awareness to the Renesas RH850

Lauterbach has announced that it has extended the kernel awareness for the embOS RTOS from SEGGER Microcontroller to the RH850 Family of microprocessors from Renesas Electronics. TRACE32, the class leading debug tools from Lauterbach, already supports embOS on ARM, PowerPC, RX, SH and NIOS-II families and this tried and tested technology has now been extended to include RH850.

The embOS awareness plugin for TRACE32 allows the developer to visualise RTOS resources and objects such as task lists, mailboxes, timers and semaphores. Developers are free to investigate interrupt routines, drivers and application code all from within the familiar environment of TRACE32. When the awareness is configured, extra features become available, for instance the setting of task aware breakpoints.

All MPUs of the RH850 Family provide dedicated counter registers which can be accessed non-intrusively by the TRACE32 debugger. These can be configured to display minimum, maximum and mean runtimes for a user marked block of code or the runtimes of various tasks in the embOS system. If the target provides off-chip trace capabilities, TRACE32 can record processor cycles and can be configured to collect data on task switches. Using this information, a detailed analysis of the program history, including task switches, can be viewed.

All features of the TRACE32 awareness for embOS do not require any additional target configuration or any hooks or patches within the RTOS itself. The philosophy of TRACE32 is for the application to behave exactly the same in the debug environment as on the final product; only this way can 100% certainty of testing be achieved.

Lauterbach | www.lauterbach.com

IoT Tool Suite Supports Bluetooth 5

Rigado has announced its Edge Connectivity Suite with full support for Bluetooth 5. Designed for large-scale commercial IoT deployments, Rigado’s Edge Connectivity solution is comprised of Bluetooth 5 end-device modules and the Vesta IoT Gateway, which includes cloud-based tools for secure deployment and updating.

The Edge Connectivity Suite actively addresses a growing need for low-power wireless within commercial IoT applications like asset tracking, smart lighting and connected retail and hospitality. The company’s Bluetooth 5-enabled solutions support the flexibility, interoperability and security demands of large-scale commercial IoT deployments. Moreover, the suite addresses the market need for Edge Computing at scale, paving a secure and cost-effective road for data from device-to-cloud.

Specifically designed for companies who need to develop, deploy and manage a large number of connected devices and gateways, the Rigado Edge Connectivity Suite provides seamless integration between IoT devices and the Cloud. It includes:

  • BMD-340 angleCertified end device modules – Rigado modules (see photo) save connected product teams six months and $200K+ in design, test and certification. Fully Bluetooth 5 enabled, Rigado modules also feature mesh networking capabilities, ideal for applications like smart lighting, asset tracking, and connected retail.
  • Edge computing gateways – Rigado Vesta gateways manage connectivity to end devices and ensure data reaches public and private cloud services. They also support custom edge applications to process data and offer local device control. Flexible wireless options and customizability mean that companies can optimize their gateway for cost-effective enterprise deployment.
  • Cloud-based tools for secure deployment and updating– Companies require a scalable solution to securely manage updates to devices in the field. With that in mind, every Rigado gateway ships with Rigado’s provisioning and release management system that integrates with existing development tools for secure updating at scale.

Rigado | www.rigado.com

Microcontroller Family Provides 25 Sensing Functions for 25 Cents

Texas Instruments (TI) has unveiled its lowest-cost ultra-low-power MSP430 microcontrollers for sensing applications. Developers can now implement simple sensing solutions through a variety of integrated mixed-signal features in this family of MSP430 value line sensing MCUs, available for as low as US $0.25 in high volumes. Additions to the family include two new entry-level devices and a new TI LaunchPa development kit for quick and easy evaluation. Developers can implement simple sensing functions with TI’s lowest-cost microcontroller family

United_States_QuarterDevelopers now have the flexibility to customize 25 common system-level functions including timers, input/output expanders, system reset controllers, electrically erasable programmable read-only memory (EEPROM) and more, using a library of code examples. A common core architecture, a tools and software ecosystem, and extensive documentation including migration guides make it easy for developers to choose the best MSP430 value line sensing MCU for each of their designs. Designers can scale from the 0.5-kB MSP430FR2000 MCU to the rest of the MSP430 sensing and measurement MCU portfolio for applications that require up to 256 kB of memory, higher performance or more analog peripherals.

The new MSP430FR2000 and MSP430FR2100 MCUs (with 0.5 kB and 1 kB of memory, respectively) and the new development kit join the MSP430 value line sensing family which includes the MSP430FR2111, MSP430FR2311, MSP430FR2033, MSP430FR2433 and MSP430FR4133 microcontroller families and their related development tools and software.

Developers can purchase the value line sensing portfolio through the TI store, priced as low as US$0.29 in 1,000-unit quantities and US $0.25 in higher volumes. Additionally, the new MSP430FR2433 LaunchPad development kit (MSP-EXP430FR2433) is available from the TI store and authorized distributors for US $9.99. Today through Dec. 31, 2017, the TI store is offering the LaunchPad kit for a promotional price of US $4.30.

Texas Instruments | www.ti.com

Microcontrollers Target Smart Water Meters

Texas Instruments has unveiled a new family of MSP430 microcontrollers with an integrated ultrasonic sensing analog front end that enables smart water meters to deliver higher accuracy and lower power consumption. In addition, TI introduced two new reference designs that make it easier to design modules for adding automated meter reading (AMR) capabilities to existing mechanical water meters. The new MCUs and reference designs support the growing demand for more accurate water meters and remote meter reading to enable efficient water resource management, accurate measurement and timely billing.

New ultrasonic MCUs and new reference designs make both electronic and mechanical water meters smarter (PRNewsfoto/Texas Instruments Incorporated)

New ultrasonic MCUs and new reference designs make both electronic and mechanical water meters smarter.

As part of the ultra-low-power MSP430 MCU portfolio for sensing and measurement, the new MSP430FR6047 MCU family lets developers add more intelligence to flow meters by taking advantage of a complete waveform capture feature and analog-to-digital converter (ADC)-based signal processing. This technique enables more accurate measurement than competitive devices, with precision of 25 ps or better, even at flow rates less than 1 liter per hour. In addition, the integrated MSP430FR6047 devices reduce water meter system component count by 50 percent and power consumption by 25 percent, enabling a meter to operate without having to charge the battery for 10 or more years. The new MCUs also integrate a low-energy accelerator module for advanced signal processing, 256 KB of ferroelectric random access memory (FRAM), a LCD driver and a metering test interface.

The MSP430 Ultrasonic Sensing Design Center offers a comprehensive development ecosystem that allows developers to get to market in months. The design center provides tools for quick development and flexibility for customization, including software libraries, a GUI, evaluation modules with metrology and DSP libraries.

TI’s new Low-Power Water Flow Measurement with Inductive Sensing Reference Design is a compact solution for the electronic measurement of mechanical flow meters with low power consumption for longer battery life. Enabled by the single-chip SimpleLink dual-band CC1350 wireless MCU, this reference design also gives designers the ability to add dual-band wireless communications for AMR networks. Designers can take advantage of the reference design’s small footprint to easily retrofit existing mechanical flow meters, enabling water utilities to add AMR capability while avoiding expensive replacement of deployed meters. The CC1350 wireless MCU consumes only 4 µA while measuring water flow rates, enabling longer product life.

A second new reference design is an ultra-low power solution based on the SimpleLink Sub-1 GHz CC1310 wireless MCU. The Low-Power Wireless M-Bus Communications Module Reference Design uses TI’s wireless M-Bus software stack and supports all wireless M-Bus operating modes in the 868-MHz band. This reference design provides best-in-class power consumption and flexibility to support wireless M-Bus deployments across multiple regions.

Texas Instruments | www.ti.com

Sensor-Based IoT Development Platform With Bluetooth

Fujitsu Components America’s BlueBrain development platform for high-performance IoT applications is now available with a development breakout board and interface board. It enables designers to easily create a wireless monitoring and data collection system via Bluetooth. The enhanced BlueBrain Sensor-Based IoT System Platform will be available in this summer as a standard product through distribution. Jointly Fujitsu Components America bluebrain-sbs highdeveloped with CRATUS Technology, the BlueBrain platform features a high-performance CORTEX-M4 microcontroller from STMicroelectronics and a Bluetooth Low Energy wireless module from Fujitsu Components. The embedded hardware, software, and industry-standard interfaces and peripherals reduce the time and expertise needed to develop and deploy wireless, sensor-based products running simple or complicated algorithms.

The Breakout Board provides switch inputs and LED outputs to test I/O ports and functions, as well as programming interfaces for proof of concept and application development. The Interface Board provides additional sensors and interfaces and may also be used in parallel to expand the development platform. The BlueBrain Edge Processing Module attaches to a standard, 32-Pin 1.6” X 0.7” EEPROM-style IC socket, or equivalent footprint, on a mezzanine board to address specific markets and applications including industrial, agriculture, automotive and telematics, retail, smart buildings and civil infrastructure. Pricing for the BlueBrain Sensor-Based IoT System Platform is $425.

Fujitsu Components America | us.fujitsu.com/components

µTrace Supports New LPC54100 Series Microcontrollers

Lauterbach has announced its support for the new NXP Semiconductors LPC54100 Series of microcontrollers. NXP recently introduced its LPC54100 series, which achieves industry leading power efficiency and is ideally suited for “always-on” sensor-based products.utrace nxp lpc54100 series microcontrollers

Lauterbach has supported the LPC54100 Series of microcontrollers since the beginning with µTrace, a proven and popular debug and trace tool for Cortex-M-based processors. The tool uses USB 3.0 for connection to the host and connects to the LPC54100 via Serial Wire Debug (SWD) interface. The developer can control the operation of the program and analyze the data in C and C++ by the use of simple and complex breakpoints. An analog probe can be connected to µTrace to read the current and voltage measurements for energy profiling, which enables developers to fine-tune their software for minimal power usage.

The LPC54100 Series features an asymmetric dual-core architecture to enable scalable active power and performance by using a Cortex-M0+ and a Cortex-M4F for different sensor-processing tasks to optimize power efficiency. µTrace fully supports this type of asymmetric multicore processing (AMP) debugging by starting an individual TRACE32 instance for each core.

Source: Lauterbach