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'Smart' MCUs designed for IoT devices

Date:22-Oct-2018

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Redpine Signals (San Jose, CA) has announced what it says is the industry's first microcontroller (MCU) family designed for smart and secure IoT devices.

The RS12000 SmartMCU MCUs, says the company, are designed specifically to meet the high MIPS, memory, and security demands of IoT devices, while at the same time improving battery life compared to traditional ARM Cortex-M4 MCUs. Based on an optimized multi-core IoT processor architecture, the new devices are said to deliver best-in-class performance, ultra-low-power, and highly-secure operation, making them ideal for IoT edge-intelligent, voice assistant-enabled, and network and cloud connected devices.

"Redpine has fifteen-plus years of deep industry experience developing highly differentiated wireless connectivity solutions for the IoT market, and we have fully leveraged that know-how in our new SmartMCU architecture," says Venkat Mattela, CEO of Redpine Signals. "Existing MCU solutions in the market feature either high performance or low power, forcing IoT device designers to choose one mode or utilize multiple MCUs in their designs."

"With its unique gear-shifting architecture," says Matela, "Redpine has - for the first time - empowered IoT designers with both high performance and low power within a single processor core. By combining this architecture with the RS12000 series' best-in-class trusted execution environment, Redpine is accelerating the development of the next generation of intelligent and wireless connected devices with zero compromise on security."

Offering a power consumption of 19uA/MHz at 20 MHz and performance of 1.07 GOPS in a single chip, the RS12000 SmartMCU family features an ARM Cortex M4F running up to 250 MHz; a sensor hub DSP coprocessor at 125 MHz; a four-threaded network security processor based on the company's ThreadArch running up to 160 MHz; and a full suite of analog and digital peripherals.

The devices' high-performance configurations feature up to four cores and, says the company, provide double the processing power, memory, and peripherals by including two gear-shifting ARM Cortex M4 processors and two ThreadArch network security processors. The integrated network security processor includes the ability to run an embedded TCP/IP stack, offloading the primary M4 processor and providing the IoT designer full access to the M4 processor cycles and RAM, while the sensor hub coprocessor accelerates DSP processing (CMSIS-DSP) and machine learning (CMSIS-NN) functions within a local sensor data buffer, freeing up the M4 further.

Secure RS12000 SmartMCU products are based on a trusted execution environment (TEE) architecture with a separate network security processor, and include suite-B Crypto HW accelerators, secure boot, secure firmware upgrade, secure XIP and secure peripherals. Such high-security levels are ideal for applications such as smart locks, medical devices, and secure voice-based ordering, the company says.

The RS12000 SmartMCU series include the RS12100 SmartMCU , RS12200 high-performance MCU , and RS12300 secure MCU with trusted execution environment. The RS12000 SmartMCU series devices are offered in QFN, BGA, and WLCSP packages, and are sampling now with volume production starting in Q1 2019.