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Power-miserly MPU Aims at Edge-based AI Applications

Image courtesy of Microchip microchipmpu.jpg
Microchip’s SAMA7G54 allows edge AI developers to design low-power stereo vision applications.
ARM-based chip has two camera interfaces, operates at 1 GHz.

Embedded applications are increasingly calling for high-performance, low-power artificial intelligence (AI) solutions that can be deployed at the edge, with advanced imaging and audio capabilities typically found only on higher-performing multi-core microprocessors. To meet those needs, Microchip Technology Inc. has introduced the SAMA7G54 Arm Cortex A7-based MPU. Operating at 1 GHz, the SAMA7G54 includes both a MIPI® CSI-2 camera interface and a traditional parallel camera interface, enabling developers to design low-power stereo vision AI applications with more accurate depth perception.

The SAMA7G54 provides flexible low-power modes, as well as voltage and frequency scaling. When coupled with the company’s MCP16502 Power Management IC (PMIC), this MPU enables embedded designer to fine-tune their end AI application for the overall best power consumption vs. performance, while also optimizing for overall system cost. The MCP16502 is supported by Microchip’s mainline Linux distribution for the SAMA7G54, allowing for easy entry and exit from available low-power modes, as well as support for dynamic voltage and frequency scaling. 

The MPU device integrates enhanced audio features such as four I2S digital audio ports, an 8-microphone array interface, an S/PDIF transmitter and receiver, as well as a four stereo channel audio sample rate converter. Multiple microphone inputs provide improved source localization to enhance smart speaker or video conferencing system performance. 

For security, the SAMA7G54 integrates Arm TrustZone® technology with secure boot, secure key storage and cryptography with acceleration and more. Customers can work with Microchip’s security experts to evaluate their security needs and implement an appropriate level of protection.

The MPU is offered in an evaluation kit, the  SAMA7G54-EK Evaluation Kit (CPN: EV21H18A), which features connectors and expansion headers for easy customization and quick access to leading edge embedded features. The device is supported by Microchip’s mainline Linux distribution. Bare-metal framework and RTOS support is provided within MPLAB® Harmony v3.

Microchip also provides a broad family of Ethernet PHYs, switches and hubs, wireless products, as well as CAN FD transceivers that are supported by the SAMA7G54.

The SAMA7G54 is available with BGA343 package for $7.75 each in 10,000-unit quantities.

Spencer Chin is a Senior Editor for Design News covering the electronics beat. He has many years of experience covering developments in components, semiconductors, subsystems, power, and other facets of electronics from both a business/supply-chain and technology perspective. He can be reached at [email protected]

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