editor's blog
Subscribe Now

A Hardened Hub

There’s a new 9-axis motion sensor hub in town. Called SENtral, it’s a collaboration between PNI Sensors, known for geomagnetic sensors and fusion, and EM Microelectronics, a division of Swatch, whose focus is on ultra-low-power circuits. And it has its own twist.

Given EM’s focus, it should come as no surprise that this hub’s claim to fame is low power: they say it uses a small fraction of the power of the next competing microcontroller-based sensor hub solution. The exact value of that fraction is still being finalized; the press release quotes a conservative 10%. Some actual numbers are looking more like 1% (depending on which processor you compare it to), so they’re settling more on a preliminary value of 5%. That’s 5% of the competition, not 5% less than the comp.

So you might wonder, how did they get their microcontroller to draw so much less power? And the answer is, because it’s not a microcontroller running fusion software: they’ve hard-coded the fusion algorithms as an ASIC. So that answers one question: you’re not going to get source code to tweak if you want to adjust the fusion algorithms.

Since the focus here is on motion, you might understand this as meaning that motion algorithms are pretty much set; do the math and deliver quaternions. But it’s not all about pure math. You may want to tweak how magnetic anomalies are rejected, for example.

So they’ve built in some knobs – register values – that can be adjusted when you configure the device. There’s a bitstream that loads on start-up, and this configures the device for the sensors you’ve chosen (all of which are a bit different); you can also use this to tweak some of the algorithms (although, to be clear, you do this via a graphic interface, not by manually tweaking a bitstream, just in case that sounded scary).

You can find out more about what’s going on with their release.

 

Leave a Reply

featured blogs
May 24, 2024
Could these creepy crawly robo-critters be the first step on a slippery road to a robot uprising coupled with an insect uprising?...
May 23, 2024
We're investing in semiconductor workforce development programs in Latin America, including government and academic partnerships to foster engineering talent.The post Building the Semiconductor Workforce in Latin America appeared first on Chip Design....

featured video

Why Wiwynn Energy-Optimized Data Center IT Solutions Use Cadence Optimality Explorer

Sponsored by Cadence Design Systems

In the AI era, as the signal-data rate increases, the signal integrity challenges in server designs also increase. Wiwynn provides hyperscale data centers with innovative cloud IT infrastructure, bringing the best total cost of ownership (TCO), energy, and energy-itemized IT solutions from the cloud to the edge.

Learn more about how Wiwynn is developing a new methodology for PCB designs with Cadence’s Optimality Intelligent System Explorer and Clarity 3D Solver.

featured paper

Altera® FPGAs and SoCs with FPGA AI Suite and OpenVINO™ Toolkit Drive Embedded/Edge AI/Machine Learning Applications

Sponsored by Intel

Describes the emerging use cases of FPGA-based AI inference in edge and custom AI applications, and software and hardware solutions for edge FPGA AI.

Click here to read more

featured chalk talk

Improving Chip to Chip Communication with I3C
Sponsored by Mouser Electronics and Microchip
In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton and Toby Sinkinson from Microchip explore the benefits of I3C. They also examine how I3C helps simplify sensor networks, provides standardization for commonly performed functions, and how you can get started using Microchips I3C modules in your next design.
Feb 19, 2024
13,364 views