Smart Industry 1/2019


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Conventional Low Power MCU Application SOTB Embedded Controller

– Energy from battery – Energy from ambient sources




instructions can now be packed into

a single sliver of silicon – and sensors

are getting even smarter. Given

enough computing power, they will

become AI-enabled and pass on

only data that is relevant to the task

at hand, thus substantially lowering

the network load and speeding up

processes. Built-in coprocessors can

perform powerful encryption on the

fly, so that sensitive information can

be transmitted from remote locations

without worrying about hackers helping


Sensors under development can reconfigure

and recalibrate themselves

without the need for human intervention.

Tomorrow’s crop will be able to

teach themselves new tasks and learn

from experience. Pattern recognition

and predictive analysis are already

within the realm of some sensor’s

capabilities. Some devices can detect

trends in processing requirements

and adapt to them autonomously,

storing results in memory elements

that retain them even when the sensor

has been inactive for a while.

It has been estimated that manufacturing

companies worldwide will

spend $500 bn a year on IIoT technology,

with the total value generated

reaching $15 tn per year by 2030.

Add to that the increase in productivity

with sensors that can predict,

for instance, when a machine will fail,

or track shipments of goods in real


Active and Standby

current approximately



of Conventional Low-

Power MCU





time. No wonder experts estimate the

productivity gain due to IIoT over the

next couple of years in manufacturing

alone at more than 30 percent.

And all it takes is some really smart


Renesas Cuts the Power

At Electronica 2018 in Munich, Japanese

semiconductor specialist Renesas

introduced its R7F0E embedded

controller for energy-harvesting applications.

This state-of-the-art chip

operates at a power rating of 20 μA

per MHz of clock speed in active

mode, and a mere 150 nA in deep

standby. That is approximately a tenth

of the power consumption of conventional

low-power microcontroller

units (MCUs).

To achieve this dramatic reduction

Renesas employed a technol ogy

known as SOTB (silicon-on-thinburied-oxide)

which uses an extremely

thin oxide layer to reduce electric

loss. The new processor has enough

computing power to run embedded

artificial intelligence (eAI) applications,

for instance to analyze medical data.

Bosch Feels the Need for


The BMA400 is billed by Bosch as

“the first ultra-low power acceleration

sensor without compromising

on performance.” It is capable of

measuring speed and acceleration in

Harvested energy


– Light

– Temperature

– Vibration

– Liquid or air flow

– Piezoelectric

Getting Thinner and


To further reduce

power consumption,

Renesas uses a

technology called

SOTB (silicon-onthin-buried-oxide)

which operates with

an extremely thin

oxide layer to reduce

electric loss.

Detecting Human


AKM’s new sensor

can turn lights,

air conditioners,

and fans on and

off every time

a person enters or

leaves the room.

No More False


Bosch’s BMA400

power acceleration

sensor can distinguish

between real

alarm situations like

broken glass and

false signals from

random vibrations.

three perpendicular axes, and senses

both tilt and orientation. Designed

for plug-and-play step counting with

activity recognition, it is especially

suited for wearable devices that

need a long-lasting battery, as well

as for smart home applications, such

as indoor climate and home security


In security applications, the BMA400

can avoid false alarms by distinguishing

between real alarm situations, like

the sound of broken glass, and signals

just coming from random vibrations.

The unit enables precise angle and vibration

measurement, making it particularly

interesting for IoT applications.

For example, in smart homes its

energy-saving routines can recognize

whether windows are open, tilted, or

closed, making it possible to set airconditioning

or heating systems accordingly

and save energy.

AKM Asks if Anybody’s


Asahi Kasei Microdevices (AKM) has

introduced what it calls “the world’s

smallest class ultra-low power infrared

sensor IC with an integrated Human

Approach Detection algorithm.”

According to the manufacturer, the

AK9754 consumes less power, when

compared to existing systems that

need external signal processing,

because of a built-in algorithm that

makes it suitable for battery-powered

applications. The AK9754 has a detection

range of up to 1 m and does not

need a lens. Typical uses include the

automatic switching on and off of

lights when a person enters or leaves

a room, as well as control of air-conditioning

and ventilation systems.


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