QuickLogic is back, pushing power numbers down again. They’re now touting what they say is the lowest-power sensor hub, at 75 µW, with their ArcticLink 3 S2 LP.
You may recall that QuickLogic’s ArcticLink 3 is a “custom PLD,” if you like. It’s got an internal programmable fabric, plus hardened logic and a couple of processors. The solution, much of which comes pre-canned, is a combination of logic and state machine and multipliers and microcode, with a modicum of programmability. It’s a carefully crafted approach, as we discussed a while back.
QuickLogic has come back a couple of times with power reductions on their original device. I asked what changed in the S2 LP vs. the prior S2: process and design tweaks. There’s no functional difference. I asked if there was ever a reason to use the S2 instead of the S2 LP; their answer was, “Not really.” So it seems to be a story of “lower power for free.” How often do you get that?
Competitors will question how much processing this device will allow – it’s certain that there are other solutions – likely microcontroller-based – that could, with larger memories, handle more sophisticated algorithms – at the cost of higher power. PNI can probably squeeze more algorithm-per-microwatt than a generic microcontroller since their solutions are largely fixed. (Programmability costs…) But they’re still higher than 75 µW.
But much of that is conjecture and gut-feel on my part. Where the breaking point is for each of these architectures… well, I don’t know if anyone has a real answer to that. Almost makes you wish for some way of figuring out what can go into which device for how much power.
You can read more in QuickLogic’s announcement.
(Image courtesy QuickLogic)