design is based on a Renesas M16C/62P 16-bit microcontroller that features 31 kB RAM and 384 kB flash ROM on chip memory. It also has an on-chip 8-10 bit analogue I/O, and provides excellent computational and communication capabilities. Apart from good memory and I/O characteristics, the most important MCU selection consideration was the low power modes of the device. The M16C/62P controller consumes below 1 micro amp when set to stop mode, while it retains the possibility to quickly reach operating speed when requested by external events such as timer or sensor interrupts. The ultra-low power consumption with multi-year lifetime on a single battery and the use of Bluetooth and IP makes the Mulle suitable for many networked sensor applications requiring Internet support. The small form factor of only 24 x 26 x 5 mm allows Mulle to be easily embedded in its environment. The 60-pin expansion connector enables a large variety of sensors to be attached.
Professor Jerker Delsing at Luleå University of Technology comments, “The Mulle has evolved over a number of years with the focus on low power embedded internet systems. The system is our base for continued research in the area, and we are currently initiating new industry oriented research projects. We are very happy with our partnership with Renesas. It gives us excellent support for both hardware and software on our chosen microcontroller family.”
Students from Luleå University of Technology have applied and tested Mulle in a number of areas, two of which are industrial sensor networks and movement registration. One of the projects, for a district heating sub-station, was nominated to the Swedish national student embedded award price presented at the Scandinavian Technical Fair 2008. One major advantage of embedding Mulle in an application is that the standard components of the system could be used without any modifications. The Mulle software has an open source license that allows customers to modify existing software to suit their specific needs.
Francesco Anwander responsible for the University Program at Renesas Europe comments, “We are proud of a successful partnership with Luleå University of Technology. Their high level of activity and development on Renesas 16 bit platforms, as well as their focus on industrial demand shows us that our products are perfect for today’s applications. The versatility of the Mulle platform will certainly find a huge acceptance in a broad range of industrial applications but also in other network data transfer applications.
The Renesas University programme supports students, professors and university labs around the world. With Renesas leading edge technology and architecture, each year over 3000 European students obtain expertise and knowledge that prepares them for their future careers.