Secure MCU Family Targets Low Power, Small Footprint Designs

STMicroelectronics has added the new STM32G0 microcontrollers (MCUs) to the STM32 family. The new G0 series targets entry-level applications that require greater energy efficiency, functionality, security, and value, in a smaller footprint. Extremely flexible packaging and memory options enable designers to do more within less space, and save cost. A new power-distribution architecture reduces external power and ground connections to just a single pair of pins, allowing more of the package pins—a precious resource in many embedded projects—to be allocated for user connectivity.

In addition, ST is making large memory densities available in small and economical low-pin-count packages. On top of this, the new generation features power-saving innovations that trim consumption close to that of specialized ultra-low-power devices.

To provide robust security for today’s connected devices, the STM32G0 series introduces a variety of hardware-based features including memory protection to support secure boot. Some devices in the series add to these features an AES-256 hardware cryptographic accelerator with a true random number generator (TRNG) to aid encryption.

Another valuable feature that anticipates a growing need is support for the latest USB Type-C specifications that allow easy, high-speed connectivity and battery charging, including Power Delivery version 3.0.

The STM32G0 series is based on the Arm Cortex-M0+ core, which is conceived to deliver sharp performance within a tight power budget. It targets fast-evolving products in the connected world, including smartphones, smart kitchen equipment, and appliances, air conditioning, consumer or industrial motor controls, advanced user interfaces, IoT devices, rechargeable connected devices, drones, lighting systems and more.

Package options are available from 8-pin, enabling developers to easily upgrade aging 8-bit MCU designs, to 100-pin. Flash from 16 KB to 512 KB, with 512 KB available in packages as small as 32-pin, enables more sophisticated applications on small, low-cost products.

The maximum CPU frequency of 64 MHz permits high execution speeds, compared to typical entry-level MCUs. On the other hand, extremely flexible clock configuration allows users to tailor performance within the available power budget. The internal clock is remarkably stable and comparable to high-end devices, being accurate to within ±1% from 0-85°C and ±2% over the wider range from -40°C to 125°C. This not only saves the board space and pins needed to connect a dedicated external timing device, but also can trim at least 10 cents from the bill of materials.

The STM32G0 series is extremely efficient, running at less than 100µA/MHz in run mode, and provides multiple reduced-power operating modes to save energy and extend battery runtimes. Devices draw as little as 3-8µA in stop mode with the real-time clock (RTC) running, and just 500 nA in standby with RTC (all at 3.0V, 25°C).

Moreover, peripherals are upgraded to enhance performance, speed, and accuracy. The devices feature a 12-bit 2.5 MSPS ADC, with hardware oversampling for 16-bit precision. There is also a 2-channel DAC, fast comparators, and high-accuracy timers with 7.8 ns resolution.

In addition to permitting extra user-assignable I/Os, the internal (ST-patented) power-distribution scheme also helps save BoM costs by reducing the number of external power-supply decoupling components.

Enhanced internal prevention of electromagnetic susceptibility (EMS) is yet another feature that saves board space and BoM costs. Protection against fast-transient bursts above 4.5kV, in accordance with IEC 61000-4-4, relaxes the demands for surrounding filtering components and eases board layout. For product-development teams, the ability to easily ensure good electromagnetic behavior facilitates EMC certifications for faster time to market.

ST is planning several STM32G0 lines, including the STM32G071 and similar STM32G081 with hardware cryptographic enhancement. There are also Value Line STM32G070 devices for mass-market applications. Pricing starts from $0.69 for the STM32G070CBT6 Value Line MCU in a 48-pin package, with 128 KB flash, for orders of 10,000 pieces.

STMicroelectronics | www.st.com

Cypress and Semtech Team up on Integrated LoRaWAN Solution

Cypress Semiconductor has announced it has collaborated with Semtech on a compact, two-chip LoRaWAN-based module deployed by Onethinx. The highly-integrated Onethinx module is ideal for smart city applications that integrate multiple sensors and are in harsh radio environments. Using Cypress’ PSoC 6 microcontroller’s (MCU) hardware-based Secure Element functionality and Semtech’s LoRa devices and wireless radio frequency technology (LoRa Technology), the solution enables a multi-layer security architecture that isolates trust anchors for highly protected device-to-cloud connectivity.

In addition, the PSoC 6 MCU’s integrated Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) connectivity provides a simple, low-power, out-of-band control channel. The PSoC 6 device is the industry’s lowest power, most flexible Arm Cortex-M dual-core MCU with a power slope as low as 22-μA/MHz active power for the Cortex-M4 core. The device is a natural fit with Semtech’s latest LoRa radio chip family, which offers 50% power savings in receive mode and 20% longer range over previous-generation devices.

Security is a primary concern for many smart city applications. The Onethinx module utilizes the integrated Secure Element functionality in the PSoC 6 MCU to give each LoRaWAN-based device a secret identity to securely boot, on-board, and deliver data to the cloud application. Using its mutual authentication capabilities, the PSoC 6 MCU-based, LoRa-equipped device can also receive authenticated over-the-air firmware updates.

Key provisioning and management services are provided by IoT security provider and member of the Bosch group, ESCRYPT, for a complete end-to-end, secure LoRaWAN solution. The module, offered by Cypress partner Onethinx, connects to Bosch Sensortec’s Cross Domain Development Kit (XDK) for Micro-Electromechanical Systems (MEMS) sensors and to the provisioning system from ESCRYPT to securely connect.

Cypress Semiconductor | www.cypress.com

Semtech | www.semtech.com

Qseven & SMARC Cards Boast i.MX8 CPUs

Congatec has announced support of the new 64-bit NXP i.MX8 processors for the Qseven and SMARC module standards. As a member of NXP’s Early Access Program, the new congatec modules will be available in time with the production launch of the new ARM Cortex A53 / A72 based processor family. This enables OEM customers to implement their first-to-market strategies efficiently, since they can start designing the carrier board for their applications now and will be able to leverage application-ready i.MX8 based Congatec modules from day one of the launch date.

conga-QMX8_pressThe new Qseven and SMARC modules with NXP i.MX8 real-time processors are well suited for a wide range of industrial, stationary and in-vehicle applications, as the processors integrate up to four cores and high-performance graphics for up to four independent displays with low energy consumption. Since the modules are designed for the extended ambient temperature range from -40°C to +85°C, they can also be used in fleet systems for commercial vehicles or in infotainment applications in cabs, buses and trains as well as all the new electric and autonomous vehicles. The acceptance of these new platforms is accelerated by the widespread use of ARM technologies in the consumer electronics market, which further reinforces the dominance of ARM technology, especially in the (ultra-) low-power segment of embedded computer technologies.

Congatec offers numerous important services around its modules, allowing design engineers to fully concentrate on the new features: The offer ranges from starter kits to EDM services and encompasses everything the developer’s heart desires. With congatec’s personal design-in support, OEMs also benefit from expert premium service from requirement engineering through to serial production. The first congatec modules and matching starter kits will be presented at Embedded World 2018 in Nuremberg. Customers can order starter kits with Qseven modules based on NXP i.MX6 processors today to enable them to switch to the new 64-bit platform the moment the new modules are launched. The first batches will be limited; interested OEM customers should register now for the exclusive congatec i.MX8 Early Access Program.

Congatec | www.congatec.com

Eight-Core 64-bit Processor for Mobile Devices

MediaTek has announced the MT6795, which the company is targeting at the high-end Android 4G smartphones and tablet segment. According to the press release, the eight-core processor also supports 2560 × 1600 resolution displays, FDD/TDD LTE technology, 802.11ac WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, FM Radio, and 2G and 3G wireless networks.mediatek

The chip also supports video recording and playback at Ultra HD (4K2K) resolution using the H.265, H.264 and VP9 formats, supporting high-speed 1080p video recording at up to 480 frames per second allowing slow-motion playback on screens with 120 Hz refresh. An integrated 16-MP camera image signal processor handles video input and MediaTek’s ClearMotion technology eliminates motion jitter to ensure smooth video playback at 60fps.

The MT6795 uses eight ARM Cortex-A53 processors, based on a 28-nm process that clocks at 2.0 GHz and a Mali-T760 GPU to handle display control. MediaTek also supplies its CorePilot technology, which provides multicore processor performance and thermal control of the chip. The MT6795 also supports dual-channel LPDDR3 memory at 933 MHz.

According to MediaTek, we can expect to see 4G smartphones using MT7695 chips before the end of  2014.

[Via Elektor]

 

ARM Cortex A8 System on Module

ArtilaThe M-5360A is an application-ready solution for multimedia and machine-to-machine (M2M) applications. The credit card-size System on Module (SOM) is powered by a Freescale 800-MHz i.MX537 ARM Cortex A8 processor with 1-GB DDR3 RAM and 4-GB eMMC flash.

The M-5360A features two independent low-voltage differential signaling (LVDS) channels for dual LCDs and one VGA port for external monitor connection. The i.MX537’s multimedia and graphic engine supports OpenGLE 2.0, OpenVG 1.1 graphics acceleration, and 1080P video decoding.

The M-5360A also provides powerful communication functionality (e.g., Ethernet, RS-232, RS-485, CAN 2.0, 1-Wire, and USB). This makes the SOM suitable for multimedia applications as well as embedded networking devices.

The M-5360A uses 128-pin 2-mm pin headers, which simplifies application board design.   The SOM includes a preinstalled Ubuntu OS. Android and Windows CE are available by request. In addition to the hardware building blocks, software utility and device drivers are available for user applications.

Contact Artila for pricing.

Artila Electronics Co., Ltd.
www.artila.com

Khadas Vim3 SBC Rides High with Cortex-A73 SoC and NVMe Support

By Eric Brown

Khadas has unveiled a “Khadas Vim3” SBC that runs Linux on an Amlogic S922X with 4x -A73 and 2x -A53 cores, with a future model featuring a neural processor. You get up to 4 GB RAM and 32GB eMMC plus expansion via 40-pin GPIO, PCIe, and M.2 with NVMe.

Shenzhen Wesion’s Khadas project will soon launch the second Linux hacker board to offer Amlogic’s hexa-core S922X after Hardkernel’s Odroid-N2. The Khadas Vim3, which follows the quad-core Amlogic S905X based Khadas Vim1 and octa-core Amlogic S912 Khadas Vim2, is “coming soon” with high-end features like NVMe storage and a combo interface that can be used for either PCIe or USB 3.0. (UPDATE: The Vim3 is now available.)

 
Khadas Vim3
(click images to enlarge)
Despite having fewer CPU cores, the Khadas Vim3’s Amlogic S922X is much more powerful than the Vim2’s octa-core, Cortex-A53 S912, as well as the Rockchip RK3399 (2x -A72 and 4x -A53). According to Hardkernel benchmarks using the Odroid-N2, this 12 nm-fabricated SoC with 4x 1.8 GHz Cortex-A73 cores and 2x 1.9 GHz -A53 cores delivers about 20 percent faster CPU performance than the widely deployed RK3399. It also offers a Cortex-M4 chip and an advanced Arm Mali-G52 GPU equipped with 6x 846MHz EEs.

The specs below are only for the first of three Khadas Vim3 models. Judging from the mention of “next generation, deep-neural-network applications, at 2.5 TOPS,” at least one of the other Vim3 models will feature a processor with an neural processing unit (NPU), which is unavailable on the S922X. As noted by the CNXSoft story that alerted us to the SBC, this is likely the upcoming Amlogic S922D, which appears to be the same as the S922X except for the addition of an A311 neural processor.

The Khadas Vim3 has the same, somewhat Raspberry Pi-like 82 mm x 58 mm x 11.5 mm footprint and layout as the earlier Vim boards, and similarly offers a 40-pin GPIO. The Vim3 will likely continue the Khadas tradition of shipping with schematics and other open source files, as well as supporting Linux and Android. All the Khadas project is saying about OS support now is that there will be a Felix Script app for “one-click” builds of Linux distributions.

A few key specs are still up in the air, such as whether it will include a microSD slot or whether pogo pads will be included. The precise nature of the pins supported on the M.2 socket is also uncertain, and there is also a question about the dual USB 2.0 host ports, suggesting the possibility that one or more might jump to 3.0.

 
Preliminary specs for the Khadas Vim3
(click images to enlarge)
The Khadas Vim3 will ship in Basic (2 GB LPDDR4 and 16 GB eMMC 5.1) or Pro ( 4 GB/ 32 GB) models, both of which offer 16 MB SPI flash. Unlike the Vim2 (or Odroid-N2), there’s an M.2 2280 socket, and it supports high-speed NVMe storage. Another novelty is the new PCIe 2.0 x1 interface, which is accessible via a combo socket that can switch to USB 3.0.

Dual simultaneous displays are now available via the [email protected] ready HDMI 2.1 port and the new 4-lane MIPI-DSI interface with touch-panel support. There’s also a new 3-axis accelerometer.

The Vim 3 follows the Vim2 in offering a GbE port with Wake-on-LAN, as well as 802.11ac and Bluetooth 5.0. Other similar features include the RTC, IR receiver, LEDs, and 2x USB 2.0 ports.

Like the Vim2, the Vim3 offers a USB Type-C port with power input, but it now adds support for wide-range, 5-20 V DC support, which Khadas says is useful for running power-hungry devices such as a mic array and speakers. An STMicro STM8S003 based power management chip includes a programmable EEPROM.

The board offers several advantages over the Odroid-N2 including eMMC storage, accelerometer, PCIe, and the M.2 option for NVMe. It’s smaller and its DSI interface is a step up from the Odroid-N2’s composite video interface. On the other hand, Hardkernel’s board has 4x USB 3.0 host ports and an SPDIF interface and audio DAC.

Further information

The first of three Khadas Vim3 models is “coming soon” at an undisclosed price. More information and a signup form for notifications may be found on Shenzhen Wesion’s Khadas Vim3 announcement and preliminary launch page.

This article originally appeared on LinuxGizmos.com on May 14.

Khadas | www.khadas.com