Designers of smart sensor systems and other low-power electronics have a new toolkit for building embedded systems using Silicon Labs' EFM32 Wonder Gecko microcontrollers (MCUs).
The Austin, Texas, company has released development kits and application software demonstrations for the MCU family, which the company acquired this year through its purchase of Energy Micro.
The development kits and software examples will help embedded engineers leverage 32-bit digital signal control with the high-performance CPU and extremely low standby power modes, enabling the design of ultra-low-power systems, the company said in a press release.
Silicon Labs released new development kits and application software demonstrations for the EFM32 Wonder Gecko (MCU) family to help embedded designers build ultra-low-power systems. The MCUs are suited for building smart sensor systems that must collect and process lots of data quickly.
(Source: Silicon Labs)
Geir Førre, senior vice president and general manager of Silicon Labs' microcontroller business, told us in an email that the MCUs are based on the ARM Cortext-M4 processors, which include a full DSP instruction set and a hardware floating point unit for faster computation. This makes them well suited for applications that must process lots of data quickly.
The development kits also add support for the MCUs in Silicon Labs' Simplicity Studio software to help engineers build ultra-low-power applications quickly through the energyAware Profiler tool. "With our focus on energy efficiency, the Wonder Gecko kits give embedded designers access to the most energy-friendly ARM Cortex-M4 based MCU and the lowest standby power modes," he said. "The Wonder Gecko development kits and software library provide easy access to advanced signal processing functions and floating point performance."
This is especially conducive to building smart sensor and wireless applications, which "benefit from effective analysis locally at the sensor node rather than transmitting large volumes of data over the network for remote processing," Førre said. "Smart sensor applications are particularly relevant as they may involve the collection of data such as temperature or energy readings, or the spectral analysis of various types of sensor signal."
The EFM32 development kits also aim to speed development time with a built-in J-Link debugger and software examples that use each kit's built-in features, which include:
- An audio pre-amplifier equalizer that digitizes the audio connector signal with the MCU's on-chip analog-to-digital converter and subsequently generates the output via a digital-to-analog converter.
- An audio frequency analyzer using the kit's audio connector and performing a Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) to display a frequency plot on the development kit's LCD.
- An application example using the kit's onboard light sensor for 10-500Hz FFT analysis.
The company says these software demonstrations enable designers to assess differences between hard and soft floating point operations and compiler optimization, as well the CPU cycle count.
Silicon Labs coded the example projects using algorithms that are part of the Cortex Microcontroller Software Interface Standard (CMSIS) DSP function library, which includes complex FFT, finite impulse response filters, matrix and vector operations, and statistical analysis. CMSIS provides a hardware abstraction layer for ARM Cortex-M processors.