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Monday, June 13, 2016

Programmable Drag-and-drop analogue chip for multiple sensors in the IoT

By Nick Flaherty www.flaherty.co.uk

Cypress Semiconductor has launched a new programmable system-on-chip that simplifies the design of next-generation industrial, home appliance and consumer systems that require multiple sensors. 

Many Internet of Things (IoT) applications require multiple sensors and can benefit from dedicated coprocessors that offload sensor processing from the host and reduce overall system power consumption. At the same time the analogue element of the design is often a challenge. The new PSoC Analogue Coprocessor integrates programmable analogue blocks, including a new Universal Analogue Block (UAB), which can be configured with GUI-based software components. 

Based on a 32-bit ARM Cortex-M0+ signal processing engine, it delivers a fully programmable analog front end with op amps, programmable gain amplifiers, analog multiplexers, analog-to-digital converters, analogue filters and digital-to-analogue converters (DACs). This simplifies the design of custom analogue front ends for sensor interfaces by allowing engineers to update sensor features quickly with no hardware or host processor software changes, while also reducing overall costs.

For example, in home automation applications, engineers can easily configure the coprocessor to continuously monitor multiple sensors, such as temperature, humidity, ambient light, motion and sound, allowing the host to stay in a standby low-power mode. Future design changes to support new sensor types can also be easily implemented by reconfiguring the programmable analog blocks. 

The design of custom sensor interfaces is handled by Cypress’s free PSoC Creator Integrated Design Environment (IDE), which simplifies system design by enabling concurrent hardware and firmware development using PSoC Components—free embedded ICs represented by an icon in the IDE. Engineers can easily configure the programmable analog blocks in the Analogue Coprocessor by dragging and dropping components on the PSoC Creator schematic and customizing them with graphical component configuration tools. The components offer fully engineered embedded initialization, calibration and temperature correction algorithms.

“The PSoC Analogue Coprocessor makes sensor interface design accessible to embedded systems engineers without requiring expertise in analog system design; this comes with the added benefit of enabling rapid prototyping and design iterations in software with no hardware changes by simply modifying components in PSoC Creator,” said John Weil, vice president of MCU marketing at Cypress. “Cypress has pioneered and perfected programmable analog technology for 15 years, and now our PSoC Analog Coprocessor provides the most programmable analog IP per square millimeter in a tiny chip-scale package.”

The PSoC Analog Coprocessor is available in a 3.7-mm by 2.0-mm chip-scale package option and is currently sampling with production expected in the fourth quarter of 2016. Parts will be available in 45-pin CSP, 28-pin SSOP, 48-pin QFN and 48-pin TQFP packages.

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