ARM helps the remote sensor market to take off

20 March 2012

Alistair Winning
Alistair Winning

It has been predicted for quite a long time that one of the most promising areas for growth in the electronics market is remote sensing.

The most recent prediction is featured in a report from TechNavio, which estimates that the global remote sensing technology market will grow at a CAGR of 6.6% to 2014.

These sensor networks are expected to emerge in a wide variety of applications such as building management, industrial automation, healthcare monitoring, transportation and many others. The advantages of these networks are that sensor modules can be placed almost anywhere with no need for either wired communications or mains power. The data collected from the sensors can be used for more intelligent management and control, creating more efficient systems.

This week another announcement was made could further increase the speed of adoption. ARM has released its Cortex-M0+ processor, which is specifically targeted at remote sensing applications. The availability of the new, software compatible ARM processor will allow low-power modules to be build without compromising size or power restrictions.

The 32-bit Cortex-M0+ processor consumes just 9µA/MHz on a 90nm LP process. Based on the Cortex-M0 the Cortex-M0+ has been redesigned from the ground up to add a number of new features. These include single-cycle IO to speed access to GPIO and peripherals, improved debug and trace capability and a 2-stage pipeline to reduce the number of cycles per instruction and improve Flash accesses, further reducing power consumption.

The Cortex-M0+ is binary compatible with existing Cortex-M0 processor tools and RTOS. It enjoys the support from the ARM Cortex-M ecosystem and software compatibility enables easy migration to the higher-performance Cortex-M3 and Cortex-M4 processors. Early licensees of the Cortex-M0+ processor include Freescale and NXP Semiconductor.

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