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32bit SoC targets network sensor apps

Posted: 11 Oct 2011     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:microprocessor SoC  wireless sensor  power consumption 

STMicroelectronics NV and the Microsystems Technology Laboratories (MTL) of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have collaborated on an energy-efficient 32bit microprocessor SoC targeted at sensor network applications such as embedded biomedical systems.

The team showed the results of the low-power microprocessor R&D project that is said to reduce power consumption to 10.2picojoule (pJ)/cycle at 0.54V, while allowing SRAM memory cells to operate at 0.4V.

"This breakthrough technology can enable the development of an entirely new generation of microprocessors for wireless sensors and implantable medical devices, where minimised power consumption and long battery life are absolutely critical," stated Alessandro Cremonesi, strategy and system technology group VP at ST.

"We are excited that our collaborative project with ST has resulted in an ultra-low-power microprocessor SoC. MIT researchers and ST engineers worked together to develop and implement a number of architectural and circuit technique to reduce power consumption. The energy-efficient processor will enable a number of exciting sensor network applications such as embedded biomedical systems," noted Anantha Chandrakasan, department head of EECS at MIT.

Implemented in ST's 65nm CMOS process, memory-access power consumption is further reduced through small latch-based instruction and data caches at the first level of the hierarchy. Additional features that make the SoC a compact and self-contained system include on-chip ultra-low power clock generation and A/D conversion, said the company. It also has a set of peripherals such as timers and serial interfaces that function at the minimum voltage supply.

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