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QuickLogic sensor hub slashes power use of app processors

Posted: 03 Aug 2015 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:QuickLogic? sensor hub? application processor? SoC? wearable?

Hardware accelerators also handle the job of converting the outputs of cheap Pulse Density Modulation (PDM) microphones into the Pulse Code Modulation (PCM) required for accurate voice recognition on-chip. Also Sensory's Low Power Sound Detector (LPSD) technology is run by a hardware accelerators to pull speech commands out of low-level sound inputs without having to run the whole voice recognition suite (until triggered by a voice). Up to 20 voice commands can be recognised while drawing only microAmps of power.

ARM Cortex M4

For wearables, the on-chip ARM Cortex M4 acts as the applications processor for a complete single SoC solution. (Source: QuickLogic)

By not awakening the ARM Cortex-4F except for complicated tasks that cannot be handled by the multitude of hardware accelerators, the Eos smart sensor hub can consume as little as 100?W/MHz while consuming only 80?W per Drystone MIP.

"Key is our patent pending FFE [flexible fusion engine) a mini-DSP which achieve 180 MIPS at just 8mW compared to the Cortex-4F which only achieves 105 MIPS at 15mW, because we can do most tasks in our hardware accelerators, we estimate that the Cortex-4F will only be used about 20 per cent of the time," Faith added. "Eos is not just a tri-core sensor hub, but a tiered multi-core processor with its own FPGA and many hardware accelerators that can handle up to 80 per cent of the sensor hub tasks while consuming half the power of other Cortex-based sensor hubs."

QuickLogic will be sampling the Eos in September and already has a top-tier smartphone maker using a hand-built emulator to prepare its software for this "revolutionary step forward," according to Faith.

Eos sensor hub

Compared to using an ARM Cortex-M4 by itself, which tops out at 105 MIPs consuming nearly 20mW, the hardware accelerators on QuickLogic's Eos sensor hub can perform at 155 MIPS at just 8mW. (Source: QuickLogic)

The FPGA provides 2800 effective logic cells of reprogrammable logic for customer-specific acceleration of tasks ranging from context awareness to augmented reality to gaming.

- R. Colin Johnson
??EE Times


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