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Sensor hub cuts power usage in smartphones, wearables

Posted: 05 Sep 2014 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:QuickLogic? sensor? smartphone? wearable? flexible fusion engine?

QuickLogic Corp. has unveiled the second CSSP solution in its sensor hub roadmap. The ArcticLink 3 S2 platform claims to double the customer-specific programmable logic capacity, four times the computational performance, four times the on-board algorithm capacity, and eight times the sensor data buffer storage while consuming 40 per cent less power than the previous generation ArcticLink 3 S1, detailed the company.

The ArcticLink 3 S2 features the second-generation flexible fusion engine (FFE) that claims to be four times faster than previous generation, allowing it to process more algorithms more quickly. It also boasts 95 per cent less active power than typical MCU-based sensor hubs, and 40 per cent less power than the previous generation. In addition, the platform has dual, hardwired 32bit multipliers for lowest power sensor algorithm math functions.

ArcticLink 3 S2 block diagram

Increased memory stores eight times more batched sensor events for longer periods between processor wake-up, resulting in lower system power. Additionally, the platform flaunts hardwired SPI and I2C interfaces for optimised communication to sensors and to host application processors and/or microcontrollers (MCUs). On-chip oscillators remove the need for external clock sources, reducing BOM costs and PCB space required for sensor hub, noted QuickLogic.

The platform features programmable logic cells that can be used to integrate customer-specific functions such as IR remote control, LED control and IrDA bar code transmission, removing the need to use additional MCUs or mobile FPGAs. It is also pin and software-compatible with the ArcticLink 3 S1, providing full backward and forward-compatibility for existing S1 users. Likewise, the integrated development environment (IDE) and Flexible fusion engine algorithm tool (FFEAT) supports QuickLogic-developed, third party and/or OEM-developed sensor algorithms.

The demand for sensor-based applications such as health and wellness, indoor navigation/pedestrian dead reckoning (PDR) and gaming is a drain on battery life. The MCU- based approach is based entirely on software, which uses significantly more power than hardware. Alternatives such as ASSPs do not have the inherent flexibility to adapt sensor hub algorithms to emerging mobile requirements for additional gesture and contextual awareness applications. QuickLogic's hardware-based solution enables greater power efficiency while the programmable fabric offers flexibility to add more sophisticated functions and adapt to design changes, stated the company. This unique architecture, coupled with increased memory, performance and capability, makes the ArcticLink 3 S2 platform ideal for a range of advanced sensor-based applications for smartphones and wearables.

The ArcticLink 3 S2 is available in CSSP and Catalogue CSSP variants. The CSSP variant provides OEMs the opportunity to develop customised versions of the S2, and choose from QuickLogic-developed, 3rd party, and/or OEM-developed sensor algorithms to address specific end product requirements for best-in-class performance. The first Catalogue CSSP variant, called the ArcticLink 3 S2 Gesture and Context Catalogue CSSP, provides out-of-the-box support for gestures such as tap-to-wake and rotate-to-wake, along with providing enhanced context and significant motion detection, sensor calibration functions, and enhanced pedometer (including differentiation and step counts of running, jogging and walking).

The ArcticLink 3 S2 and Context and Gesture Catalogue CSSP are sampling.

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