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IoT design could get a boost using low-power radios

Posted: 26 Aug 2015     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:PsiKick  IoT  energy harvester  silicon design  Bluetooth Low Energy 

Another drawback to the ultra-low power target is some things have to be left out such as security hardware. "We know public key encryption consumes too much power for IoT, but we're waiting to see what [IoT security] standards develop," he said.

A principal engineer from Intel Labs agreed with some of Calhoun's points in a separate talk about a research chip it designed. SoCs supporting always-on audio and video, applications expected to be in high demand in future wearable devices, would need to recharge every hour or two, said May Wu, a director of Intel's wireless lab.

"The most interesting wearables are those that include audio and video in devices that evaluate what to see and hear," Wu said. But there's "a 20-fold gap between what's needed and the power consumption of current devices," she said.

Intel Labs' SoC for wearables

Intel Labs' SoC for wearables uses a version of the Currie x86 core.

In an effort to explore trade-offs for next-generation wearable SoCs, Intel designed 14nm test chips with specialised audio and video blocks. The chips use a version of the x86 core in Intel's Curie module along with a microcontroller to handle light jobs when the host is turned off.

Researchers are still working on the algorithms for the SoCs aimed at uses such as speech and gesture recognition. They are also investigating future applications for them as well as, like PsiKick, new low-power radios for them.

- Rick Merritt
  EE Times

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