Power efficient microcontrollers for sensor-processing market

11 November 2014

In a major leap forward for sensor-based products, NXP Semiconductors unveiled the LPC54100 series of microcontrollers.

LPC54100 Series set a new standard in delivering a smarter customer experience and prolonged battery life to wide range of “always-on” sensor-based products. It is a breakthrough in ultra-low power performance for sensor processing. With patented, market-proven architectural innovations, the series achieves unmatched power efficiency and consumes an average of 20 per cent less power than its closest competitors.

Crucial for always-on applications, the LPC54100 series requires as little as 3µA for continuous sensor listening.  A first for sensor applications, its asymmetric dual-core architecture enables scalable active power/performance that enables developers to optimise power efficiency. This is by using the 55µA/MHz Cortex-M0+ core for sensor data collection, aggregation, and external communications, or the Cortex-M4F core (100µA/MHz) to execute math-intensive algorithms quickly while saving power. 

This architecture is complemented by a range of analog and digital interfaces designed from the ground up for power efficiency — including a 12-bit, 4.8Msps ADC capable of full-spec performance at the full voltage range (1.62 to 3.6 V). As well as low-power serial interfaces — enabling the LPC54100 series to offer the lowest power consumption for sensor processing than any other microcontroller in its class. 

Jim Trent, vice president and general manager, NXP Semiconductors, comments that the advanced features appearing in mobile devices today are made possible by the growing number of ‘always-on’ sensors. In the near future, other industries will make similar strides by requiring mobile phone product features to enhance their customer’s experience. Many older MCU sensor-processing architectures are just too power hungry or do not scale efficiently as the number of sensors increase. The LPC54100 series enables any industry to benefit from the smarter, more user-centric experience that sensors can bring.

The LPC54100 Series targets products in mobile, wearable health/fitness, industrial applications, gaming, or other use cases that require long battery life as a key driver to enhance the end-user experience.

To enable embedded developers to bring sensor-based designs to market quickly, NXP partnered with strategic manufacturers and sensor-processing middleware providers, including Bosch Sensortec, CyWee Motion and Hillcrest Labs. NXP’s partnership with Bosch Sensortec is to offer an application-in-a-box sensor processing/motion solution, combining an LPC54102 microcontroller, nine popular sensors, Bosch Sensortec’s motion and pressure sensors and sensor fusion middleware, as well as NXP’s LPCXpresso development platform and support. The solution makes it simple for customers to enhance next-generation products by incorporating motion and other sensor-based features.

Stefan Finkbeiner, CEO of Bosch Sensortec, notes that this is a great time for sensors and sensor-enabled products. They have worked diligently with NXP on their sensor processing/motion solution to provide an integrated development platform to make it easy for customers to create and validate their new sensor-based designs.

Shunnan Liou, general manager for CyweeMotion, comments that they are excited to see the low power advancements made in NXPs LPC54100 series. Sensor use is increasing across many product platforms and with the LPC54100 sensor; use can expand into low-power designs offering customers an improved experience.

Dan Simpkins, CEO of Hillcrest Labs, say they are delighted to partner with NXP to deliver innovative sensor-enabled user experiences for mobile and wearable devices. The power efficient and extensive DSP instruction set of the LPC54100 provides an ideal platform for state of the art sensor processing software enabling ‘always-on’ context detection and activity tracking for the next-generation of sensor-enabled devices.

The LPC54100 series will be available in WLCSP49 (3.2 x 3.2 mm) and LQFP64 (10 x 10 mm) packages in Q1, 2015 with pricing starting at USD $1.99 in 10K quantities. The sensor processing/motion solution and LPCXpresso evaluation board are available now through NXP-authorised distributors.


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