New solutions ease power challenges in sensors

Semiconductor makers offer platforms supporting the widening adoption of sensing devices for smart connectivity and mobility.

The era of mobility has thrust sensors into the mainstream because the data they collect constitute the foundation of smart connectivity. The components’ biggest roadblock to ubiquity, however, is power consumption and conservation, challenging semiconductor companies to address this with innovative solutions in the digital and analog domains.

Smartphones typically use sensor fusion, with software running on a microprocessor or microcontroller, or with fixed-function application-specific standard products or ASSPs. The microprocessor- or microcontroller-based options, however, do not operate at reduced power to keep the impact on battery life at less than 1 percent without increasing its capacity. Inherently low-power ASSPs, meanwhile, lack the flexibility to effectively use new software algorithms, including context-aware location services. QuickLogic Corp. has therefore come up with a platform adopting customer specific standard products or CSSPs. This integrates sensor management and fusion, optimizes communication with the application processor, and facilitates always-on context aware services by cutting consumption to about 1 percent of system power.

“Our product strategy is to identify areas where programmable logic can improve the mobile device consumer experience,” said Andy Pease, QuickLogic’s president and CEO. “CSSPs carry a deep understanding of the battery life challenges the mobile industry faces when enabling new use cases such as always-on context aware services.” The ultralow-power sensor hub technology utilizes real-time reconfigurable programmable logic to facilitate software algorithms.

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