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Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Low power IoT nodes from Eta Compute and ROHM

By Nick Flaherty

Eta Compute and ROHM are looking to boost the performance of sensor networks using one of the lesser known IoT protocols.

The two have teamed up to develop ultra low power sensors using the Wireless Smart Ubiquitous Network (Wi-SUN) 802.15.4g protocol. These nodes will combine ROHM’s sensor technology and Eta Compute’s low power microcontroller for smart utility networks and the IoT.

The nodes will be designed for frequent, low-latency communication that draws less than 1 μA when resting and, more importantly, only 1 mA while sensing. This enables customers to configure devices to sense frequently and still maintain a long operating life.

The EtaCore IP can reduce power consumption by 10X enabling sensor hubs to perform sensor fusion with local computing and provide real-time data from mobile and IoT enabled devices. Operating in deep subthreshold (as low as 0.25V) the IP has been used for a self timed low power ARM Cortex-M3 controller that operates from 0.25 to 1.2 volts. The result is smaller products with fewer components operating robustly at voltages as low as 0.25V (90LP process). Eliminating a clock and operating at a lower voltage delivers that lower power.

Eta Compute has additional low voltage supporting IP such as RTC, AES, and DSP as well as an analogue-to-digital converter (ADC) sensor interface that consumes less than 3uW and an efficient power management supports dynamic voltage scaling down to 0.25V with greater than 80% efficiency are both available.

“A compact, low-power sensor node is the key enabler for the deployment of billions of devices in the IoT,” said Lip Bu Tan, Chairman of Walden International and an investor in Eta Compute as well as being teh CEO of design house Cadence Design Systems. “The team at Eta Compute has a history of successful low-power computing products and has delivered a truly compelling solution for IoT.”

“Our partnership with ROHM gives our customers access to industry-leading sensor technology combined with the industry’s lowest power microprocessor technology,” said Paul Washkewicz, vice president and co-founder of Eta Compute. “By focusing on Wi-SUN compatibility, we are providing essential components for large-scale outdoor networking required for smart cities and a diverse range of applications in an intelligent loT.”

"We are pleased to collaborate with Eta Compute. ROHM has targeted the sensor business as one of our growth strategies. We offer a wide range of sensor line-ups and propose sensor solutions, combining wireless communication devices. By pooling our resources, we will provide customers with the sensor nodes they need to deploy next-generation networks across a wide range of applications,” said Satya Dixit, Sr. Director of Solutions Marketing, at ROHM Semiconductor.

Both companies are currently demonstrating an Energy Harvesting Sensor Evaluation Board using Eta Compute’s low power MCU based on its proprietary DIAL technology. In addition, Eta Compute will demonstrate ROHM’s WI-SUN module BP35C0, Pressure Sensor BM1383AGLV, Temperature Sensor BD1020HFV, and Optical Heat Rate Sensor BH1792GLC.

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