Embedded World: MCU delivers 10x system level power savings

16th March 2017
Mick Elliott

An ultra-low power microcontroller unit (MCU) that addresses the rapidly growing need for embedding advanced algorithms while consuming the lowest system power at Internet of Things (IoT) edge nodes was unveiled by Analog Devices at Embedded World in Nuremberg. The ADuCM4050 MCU includes an ARM Cortex-M4 core with floating-point unit, expanded SRAM, and embedded flash memory in order to allow localised decision making and ensuring that only the most important data is sent to the cloud.

The new MCU uses SensorStrobeTM technology allowing it to remain in a low power state while Analog Devices’ sensors and RF technology are still collecting data.

This enables the MCU to deliver over 10 times system-level power savings that result in extended battery life or longer time between battery charges. Key feature enhancements have been added for operation in harsh environments.

Security is also enhanced with the ADuCM4050, due to its encryption which provides stronger IP protection for the designer and better protection against malware and misuse.

Among these are AES 128/256, SHA 256, block ciphers for code protection, key wrap, and HMAC. The new ultra low power MCU complements Analog Devices’ already existing class-leading ADuCM302x series of parts and offers pin compatibility.

The ADuCM4050 MCU targets applications where long battery life is critical, but where security, performance integrity, and the ability to pre-process and filter sensor data to eliminate artifacts and noise are also requirements.

Applications include clinical vital-signs monitoring, smart energy management, and asset health/factory equipment reporting.

The device supports multiple digital- and analogue-sensor inputs via its SensorStrobe technology so they can be combined to analyse their data for smarter, more sophisticated functionality.

Therefore, there is no need to wake up the microcontroller frequently to report routine or partial data, thus saving significant power over the long term.

The device’s 40μA/MHz active-mode consumption, which drops to 680nA in hibernate mode ensures low power consumption. A large amount of SRAM and flash memory – 128kB and 512kB, respectively – and the ability to retain almost all of the SRAM, enables it to get data ready quicker when it wakes up from hibernate (sleep) mode, another major power-saving feature.

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