Tag Archives: Power saving technologies for embedded design

SMART MCUs for low power, smarter designs in Internet of Things, wearables, and the Industrial Internet

According to analysts at ABI Research, over the next five years businesses will integrate into their wellness plans more than 13 million wearable devices with embedded wireless connectivity. Wearable tech also ties into the rapidly evolving Internet of Things (IoT), which refers to a future world where all types of electronic devices link to each other via the Internet. Today, it’s estimated there are nearly 10 billion devices in the world connected to the Internet, a figure expected to triple to nearly 30 billion devices by 2020. The inherent versatility of Atmel | SMART microcontrollers and Atmel radio chips have made our silicon a favorite of Makers and engineers.

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Along with this setting stage, the design aspects for low power are becoming more and more important in the next embedded design products. Atmel is right in the middle of the industrial and wearable tech revolution, with a comprehensive portfolio of versatile microcontrollers (MCUs) that power a wide range of platforms and devices.

Blood glucose meters, sport watches, game controllers and accessories, guess what they are all in common? In fact, many of these today are going to shift and evolve into new form factors and application use case as connectivity and clever interacting interfaces become designed. Yes, like a lot of other industrial and consumer devices, they are all battery powered and demanding a long or extended battery life. Translating it into an engineer’s challenge designing an embedded computing system, you will need a central heart, in this case a microcontroller, consuming as low power as possible in both active and static modes without sacrificing the performance. And, Atmel SMART | ARM Cortex-M4 based SAM4L series is designed with this in mind.

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The SAM4L microcontrollers redefine the low power, delivering the lowest power in the same class in active mode (90uZ/MHz) as well as static mode with full RAM retention running and with the shortest wake-up time (1.5us). And they are the most efficient microcontrollers available today, achieving up to 28 CoreMark/mA. In this video, you’ll get an overview of Atmel | SMART SAM4L low-power microcontrollers (MCU), based on the ARM Cortex-M4 core. SAM4L MCUs operate at 90uA/MHz and achieve an efficiency rating of 28 CoreMark/mA. The devices feature an array of power-saving technologies, including Atmel’s proprietary picoPower technology. You’ll see a demo using the SAM4L-EK evaluation kit.

The SAM4L series integrates Atmel’s proprietary picoPower technology, which ensures the devices are developed from the ground up, from transistor design to clocking options, to consume as little power as possible. In addition, Atmel’s SleepWalking technology allows the peripherals to make intelligent decisions and wake up the system upon qualifying events at the peripheral level.

In this video, you will see how SAM4L microcontrollers support multiple power configurations to allow the engineer to optimize its power consumption in different use cases. You will also see another good feature of the SAM4L series, power scaling, which is a technique to adjust the internal regulator output voltage to further reduce power consumption provided by the integrated backup power manager module. Additionally, the SAM4L series comes with 2 regulators options to supply system power based on the application requirement. While the buck/switching regulator delivers much higher efficiency and is operational from 2 to 3.6V, the linear regulator has higher noise immunity and operates from 1.68 to 3.6V.

It’s all about system intelligence and conserving energy. Simply put, the SAM4L microcontroller (See SAM4L Starter Kit) is your choice if you are designing a product with long battery life but without sacrificing the performance — as demonstrated in this walkthrough of the Xplained Pro SAM4L Starter Kit.

The SAM4LC Cortex-M4 processor-based Flash microcontrollers offer the industry’s lowest power consumption and fastest wake-up. On top of what’s mentioned, this sub family of Atmel | SMART microcontrollers [labeled as ATASAM4L] devices are ideal for a wide range of industrial, healthcare and consumer applications.

Get a jump-start on your design with dedicated evaluation kits and software packages.  You can also easily catch up on some of the recent and past articles we posted related to Atmel | SMART SAM4L Microcontrollers.