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Embedded Controllers Provide Energy Harvesting Solution

Renesas Electronics has introduced its RE Family, which encompasses the company’s current and future lineup of energy harvesting embedded controllers. The RE Family is based on Renesas’ proprietary SOTB (Silicon on Thin Buried Oxide) process technology, which dramatically reduces power consumption in both the active and standby states, eliminating the need for battery replacement or recharging.

Following the mass production of the RE01 Group (formerly known as the R7F0E embedded controllers), the first of the RE Family, the new RE01 Group Evaluation Kit has been launched today, which allows users working with the RE01 Group of devices to jump start system evaluations for energy harvesting applications.

The new RE01 Evaluation Kit includes an evaluation board which features an RE01 embedded controller, an interface for the energy harvesting device and a rechargeable battery interface. The Kit also includes an Arduino-compatible interface for easy expansion and evaluation of sensor boards and a Pmod connector to expand and evaluate wireless functionality. In addition, there is an ultra-low power MIP LCD expansion board so that users can evaluate display functions faster.

The Kit also contains sample code and application notes that serve as references for power management design that eliminates the need for battery maintenance, and driver software that supports CMSIS, Arm’s Cortex Microcontroller Software Interface Standard. Sample code for ultra-low power A/D converters, digital filter and FFT (fast Fourier transform) routines, 2D graphics MIP LCD displays, and secure boot and secure firmware update functions for improved security are available. With these features, this kit makes it possible to adopt energy harvesting based on RE01 Group devices at the system level and will accelerate the development of equipment that does not require battery maintenance. IAR Embedded Workbench for Arm which can use the high efficiency IAR C/C++ compiler, and e2 studio which can use the free GNU compiler are available as the developmental environment.

Renesas’ energy harvesting devices feature the company’s SOTB process technology, which allows users to simultaneously achieve low active current and low standby current and high-speed operation at low voltage. The RE01’s 32-bit CPU core enables users to implement intelligent functions in equipment powered by low levels of harvested energy through ambient energy such as light, vibration, or fluid flow.

The RE01 Group of embedded controllers is based on the Arm Cortex-M0+ core, which can operate at clock frequencies up to 64 MHz, and provide up to 1.5 MB of low-power flash memory and 256 KB of SRAM. The RE01 can operate at voltages as low as 1.62 V and the lineup includes three package versions: a 156-pin WLBGA package, a 144-pin LQFP package, and a 100-pin LQFP package. The RE01 also includes an energy harvesting control circuit, an ultra-low power 14-bit A/D converter, and a low power circuit that can rotate, enlarge, or invert graphics data.

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These embedded controllers make it possible for applications to perform highly accurate sensing and data judgement by excluding noise from signal data when they are used as biological monitors or outdoor environmental sensing applications, says Renesas. By eliminating the need for battery maintenance in a wide range of applications, these embedded controllers will contribute to the increasingly widespread use of IoT equipment, such as wearable equipment without the inconvenience of recharging batteries, and sensing applications for homes, buildings, factories and farms, where manual changing or recharging of batteries is difficult.

Renesas plans to continue expanding the RE Family beyond 2020 with new members including small memory sizes featuring up to 256 KB of flash memory. The RE01 Evaluation Kit is available now with a reference price of $344 per unit (excluding tax).

Renesas Electronics | www.renesas.com


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