Rohm announced 2 sensor evaluation kit, "SensorMedal-EVK-002" and "SensorShield-EVK-003".
There are several IoT evaluation boards in the market, however, this new kit from Rohm has some advantages compared with others.
They are targeting the applications like:
Environmental measurement (pressure, ambient light, temperature, humidity)
Let's take a look at the features.
SensorMedal kit is complete module with Bluetooth module.
I would say this is more reference design* for people who want to quickly design small form factor IoT device.
*It does not seems like schematic/layout is not available as of Nov 2018
Pressure (Rohm: BM1383AGLV)
Ambient light (Rohm: BH1721FVC)
Temperature/Humidity (Sensirion: SHT31)
Magnetic (Rohm: BU52072GWZ)
They have iOS app called "RHRawDataMedal2" for the quick evaluation, and you can download the app from the app store.
You can refer to the Japanese site here.
Manuals are available here.
SensorShield kit is more flexible design and the main board has several IOs to support external modules.
According to their website, this kit can work with Arduino, Lazurite, and other mbed boards.
Compared with the SensorMedal kit, I would say this is for the developers who want to customize the design.
Available sensor modules:
Sensor module pins on the shield board have power and ground pins, so you can add any custom sensor boards if you want.
I believe that the sensor module header pins are 2.54mm pitch and there are 5 I2C headers available.
You can refer to the Japanese site here.
Manuals are available here.
You can purchase the kit from Japanese online stores below and they can probably accept international shipping.
I am happy to help you if you need :)
You Taiyo Yuden has been a key module vendor for wireless devices and this time they developed a very small BLE module that can be used for various wireless applications.
The module model name is EYSHSNZWZ, and this module is developed based on Nordic nRF52 series.
Key features are listed below.
This is extremely small BLE module!
As you can see in this application example, there are so many that you can consider using BLE.
Using this kind of small module will help product form factor to be small and save the areas for other features like sensors.
Also, it will save lots of effort that is required for engineers and product managers.
The evaluation board and kit are available from here.
You can order the board from Digikey.
There is an overview document of the BLE module lineup.
This will help you consider the best solution for your use case.
I am not quite sure how many people are interested in wireless charging, but I believe the demand is increasing as you see wireless charging pad in restaurants, coffee-shops, hotels, etc.
This Global Market Insight mentions that the wireless charging market size was valued at over 3 billion USD in 2016 and potentially grow more than 13% CAGR from 2017-2024.
This means that more portable devices will start supporting both conventional wired and wireless charging.
People probably use USB for the wired charging, but what is wireless?
Well, there are several technologies when we talk about wireless, such as inductive, resonant, RF, and others.
It seems like inductive charging technology like Qi is the one we hear more often.
Now, how can be implement such a circuitry in the gadget?
Isn't the schematic getting more complected?
Here is the potential solution for you!
Rohm semiconductor's developed "BD99954GW" and "BD99954MWV" that can support 2 power supply inputs and automatically switch the inputs.
Yes, automatically...and it does not require MCU to control the external switching circuits and simplifies the design and PCB area.
You can refer to the example drawings in the product introduction page here.
The difference between GW and MWV is the package.
GW is the UCSP package and MWV is the UQFN package.
Another advantage of this part is that this part supports USB BC1.2, USB Power Delivery, as well as AC adapter .
The internal back-boost converter can generates the charging voltage from 3.07V to 19.2V which allows to control 1 to 4 cell batteries and also the USB PD system.
With all these features, it will make the design easy for the engineers who are working on the wired and wireless charging system.
For more information, you can check Rohm's "BD99954GW/MWV" site.
Evaluation board is also available for the people who wants to test!
Rohm Semiconductor developed extremely low power DC/DC boost converter "BU33UV7NUX" targeting the applications like small portable devices, gadget, remote, and so on.
It especially works good with the product using dry cell batteries and it can output 3.3V from the 1 to 2 dry cell batteries (1-3V).
The current consumption is just about 7uA!
The Japanese press release says that they can improve the battery life 175 days more compared with other conventional parts when using a remote with 2 batteries as stand-by more.
Assuming 50 uA load current of the stand-by mode, it can improve the battery life from 540 days to 715 days!
Well, in a practical sense, the remote is used more often and it is not always stand-by mode, however, 175 days (1.3 times) is quite interesting.
It can also support low and high power mode that can achieve maximum efficiency of 94% in the wide variety of conditions.
Low power: Maximum load current 50mA, Power consumption 7uA, PFM control
High power: Maximum load current 500mA, Power consumption 13uA, PFM/PWM control
The evaluation board "BU33UV7NUX-EVK-101" is available through distributors.
This could be a good candidate for the dry cell battery operated BLE devices like tracking, sensing, and others!
While the power supply circuit design is very important to keep the required specification, it is also important to keep the PCB area small.
Power circuit requires many passive components to achieve the performance and the space to lower the power integrity and thermal impacts.
Having the smaller components is always helpful and Torex semiconductor is the one of the key vendor that produces the small voltage regulators.
Their new devices, XCL223/XCL224 the synchronous buck “micro DC/DC” converter with integrated coil, are the ultra small size which dimension is 2.25mm x 1.5mm, and the height is 0.75mm. Yes, integrated coil.
Here is the quick summary in their product news page.
"Torex Semiconductor Ltd. (Tokyo Japan: President, Koji Shibamiya, 6616: 2nd section at Tokyo Stock Exchange) has launched mass production of the XCL223/224 Synchronous Buck “micro DC/DC” Converter with integrated coil. Minimum operating voltage is 2.5V & maximum operating temperature is 105°C.
The XCL223/XCL224 series are ultra-small (external dimensions: 2.25mm x 1.5mm x h0.75mm) step-down micro DC/DC converters with an integrated coil and control IC. These converters achieve the world’s smallest class of miniaturization and height reduction among output types with an output current of 0.4A / 0.7A."
Having the integrated coil is the value adder since the designer does not need to consider the vendor identifications for the external inductor.
The efficiency can be 80%-90% depending on the conditions and it supports HiSAT-COT which is an original Torex term for High Speed Transient Response.
The difference between XCL223 and XCL224 is either PWM control (XCL223) or PWM/PFM control (XCL224).
The typical application circuit described in the product page is very simple, just require the input and output capacitance as below.
The input and output voltage range is
The output current and oscillation frequency is
・Output Current：700mA(Type A)、400mA(Type B)
・Oscillation Frequency ：3.0MHz
I am not sure how the cost is like compared with the conventional step-down converter with the similar specification, but it might be worth it considering the other advantages like PCB space, test, external passive components, mechanical design, etc..
I would think it can be used for the CPU reference designs with the small form factor.
It does not seem like they have the any samples or boards that can be purchased online, unfortunately.
It would be fun to design voltage regulator evaluation boards or breakout boards using this part.
In the consumer area, many semiconductor companies make MCU (Micro Controller Unit) using ARM core.
Sanken electric is a bit different and they make MCU targeting the power supply related products.
The new MCU, "MD6603", is 4th device of their MD series.
Utilizing their knowledge and the technology of digital power devices and made the power control design much easier and higher performance.
New product page can be found here.
"MD6603 is a MCU (Micro Controller Unit) which includes an "EPU" core, in addition to the "8bit CPU + 16 bit Tiny DSP (x2) " which is incorporated in the conventional MD series. EPU is a 16 bit processor with zero latency task switching. A close interaction with rich analog functions inluding Tiny DSP and high resolution PWM enables real time processing of complex events with only a small delay. It also includes rich analog components and strong system support functions , which can assist you in creating a more efficient and high performing power control application. "
The product page describes key features and specs.
The block diagram is also shown in the page, it is really different from the MCU chips for the portable consumer products.
The main processor is 8 bit 8051 for the small computation, however, the DSP can mange the signal processing side from analog signals, and it seems quite good enough for the task or scheduling oriented applications which is listed in the page.
・DC/DC power supply
・AC/DC power supply
・LED lighting control
・Chargers ...and so forth
One of the key features that is new to their MD series is EPU that can handle the each event input.
The product page shows the block diagram and the descriptions.
"*EPU (Event Proceccing Unit): A Multi Context Processor for arithmetic operations and conditional judgments with zero latency task switching triggered by internal event signals"
Although I am not sure how it actually works yet, this feature would give additional real-time task processing to the applications.
It seems like this device is still under development and datasheet is not available at this moment.
I think this type of MCU would be a good combination with Arduino or Raspberry PI.
It would be nice if we can get the part and build a shield boards for the quick experience.
RICOH Electronic Devices developed a new LDO (Low Dropout) voltage regulator, RP118, with 100 mA output current.
The advantage of this LDO is the very low quiescent current (200nA typical).
The low quiescent current of LDO is one of the key features to keep the long battery life especially for the IoT, wearable, or energy harvesting devices.
The descriptions from the website.
"RP118 is a voltage regulator featuring 0.2 µA ultra-low supply current. This device is ideal for a wearable equipment and IoT which require a long service life and a miniaturization of a battery.
A small package is available to achieve the smallest possible footprint solution on boards where area is limited."
The chip only has 4 to 5 pins depending on the package options.
3 packages, WLCSP-4-P8 (0.64 mm × 0.64 mm), DFN(PLP)1010-4 (1.0 mm × 1.0 mm), and SOT-23-5 (2.9 mm × 2.8 mm), are available.
WLCSP package is very small and great for the design with the limited PCB space.
The reference circuit is also simple enough with the recommended 1.0 uF ceramic capacitors each input and output power pins.
You can buy the samples online, but I do not think evaluation board is available.
For the quick prototype, it is better to use SOT-23-5 package so that you can easily solder it by hand.
The target application is listed in the website as well.
I think it would be nice to see this kind of low quiescent current LDOs in the application specific reference designs if the price is reasonable.
SII (Seiko Instruments Inc.) semiconductor developed a new magnetic sensing device "S-5718" which is based on hall effect technology.
Here is the quick description of the device.
"This IC, developed by CMOS technology, is a high-accuracy Hall effect IC with switchable detection pole function that operates at a low voltage and low current consumption.
The output voltage changes when this IC detects the intensity level of magnetic flux density of the polarity according to the input pin status. The inclusion of a switchable detection pole function makes it possible to reduce the number of parts and realize a variety of different systems by using this IC with a magnet. High-density mounting is possible by using the super small SNT-4A package.
Due to its low voltage operation and low current consumption, this IC is suitable for battery-operated portable devices. Its high-accuracy magnetic characteristics also allow this IC to reduce operation dispersion in magnet combination systems."
What is different from the previous their hall sensors is that this chip actually supports 3 state detection. The conventional hall effect switch ICs are capable to distinguish only 2 states. The conventional hall effect switch ICs are fixed configuration and detect only the presence or absence of an N pole or S pole.
This new chip is able to detect N poles, S poles, and both poles which means it can distinguish 3 states with a single IC, N pole in proximity, S pole in proximity, and no magnet.
In their article, it explains the possible IoT applications using this 3 state hall effect switch IC.
The one of the examples they mention in the article is to monitor the opened/closed states of patient room doors could be made to distinguish three states instead of just closed or opened states and send alerts. Before a door is opened so that a person can pass through, an alert could be sent to the smartphones of the nurses over Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.
The chip is available through their sales but I am not sure if the evaluation board is available.
I think having 3 state with low power is good features to the IoT applications such as the monitoring system even the personal belongings like luggage/bag.
Tiny gadget might be very useful and it is probably fun to build such a DIY device.
I personally think it can be used for board game to track the progress of the players.
Memory LCD display is one of the display technology that is used in the smart watch and other embedded products. You can also use this display for your DIY projects as you can easily buy the module from some of the online stores.
EPSON's semiconductor division developed the microcontroller "S1C31D01" that has the built-in memory LCD display controller and the power supply circuits.
Their product family line-up can be seen here.
Their website describes as below.
"Epson's low-power microcontrollers, which have built-in Flash memory, are designed to be embedded in mobile devices. In October 2015 Epson began shipping samples of the S1C31W74, the company's first product in the S1C31 series of microcontrollers with an ARM® Cortex®-M0+ processor. The S1C31D01 is the second product in the series. The biggest features of the S1C31D01 are that the memory LCD controller and the power supply IC for it are integrated on this single-chip solution."
ARM and Cortex are registered trademarks of ARM Limited (or its subsidiaries) in the EU and other countries. All rights reserved.
As mentioned above, the chip supports a new memory LCD controller, a power supply IC for the memory LCD that can output two voltages of the developer's choice, and a 6-bit parallel interface. As a results, these features eliminate the need for the external components and interface software development that can save developer's time and effort while also reducing the PCB area of the necessary circuits.
Recently, they also announced that they start the support and free of charge distribution of the emWin embedded GUI tool for this microcontroller S1C31D01.
emWin is the GUI (graphical user interface) tool designed by SEGGER to provide an efficient, processor and display controller independent GUI for any application with a graphical display.
According to their website, the emWin library for the emWin library for Epson's S1C31D01 series microcontrollers supports the following features.
The evaluation board is available from here, but I do not think you can buy online at this moment...
I personally think it would be nice to have MCU only small module to provide more design flexibility during the proto phase and also would be nice to have a platform for DIY users.
THine Electronics is a well know company as "V-by-One" technology, but this "THP7312" is their first ISP (Image Signal Processor) chip targeting the applications like automotive and security camera.
The ISP product page describes,
"THine's ISP is an image processing engine for a digital camera. The pipelined image processing engine is possible to high speed processing. Auto Exposure / Auto Focus / Auto White Balance can be done by the special circuit. You can get the best picture quality in each CMOS sensor by using THine's ISP with our original noise reduction and gamma correction."
, and the chip supports MIPI® 2ch or parallel input and MIPI® 1ch or parallel output to host.
* MIPI® is a registered trademark of MIPI Alliance, Inc.
It also has I2C master/slave, SPI master/slave, PWM, and GPIO signals to control image sensors and lens drivers as you can see the block diagram here.
They actually introduced the reference design of USB camera module in their website here.
This module uses 13MP image sensor and the basic spec is listed in the the link.
・Output resolutions and frame rate
*Maximum frame rate is 120fps
・Other key features
Auto White Balance
UVC Video Processing Amplifier Properties (Brightness, Hue, etc.)
Either USB3.0 or USB2.0
Other UVC Standard Device Requests
It is quite nice reference design to start with.
I personally think it would be great if it can support stereo camera, but maybe using 2 of this design may allow you to do simple stereo camera concept design just adding the frame sync method although I am not sure if their chip is capable to do it.
If they can support thermal image sensor, it would be value adder, I think, and it would expand the application area.