“Ideal chip for wearables” claims Dialog, for Bluetooth Smart IC

April 07, 2015 // By Graham Prophet
Dialog Semiconductor has designed what it terms the first Bluetooth Smart “Wearable-on-Chip” Wearables is the fastest-growing sector of the Bluetooth Smart market, the company says, and the configuration of the DA14680 SmartBond chip focusses on power saving and power management.

The IC integrates all the functions needed to create high performance wearable products with longest battery life. DA14680 includes the functionality to create a fully hosted wearable computing product, with an ARM Cortex-M0 core. It features flexible processing power, flash memory for virtually unlimited execution space, dedicated circuitry for sensor control, analogue and digital peripherals optimised for wearable products, and an advanced power management unit. DA14680 eliminates several external chips from wearable product design, Dialog says, allowing smaller form factors, lower system cost and lowest power consumption.

DA14680’s ultra-low power 30 µA/MHz ARM Cortex-M0 application processor will run at a clock frequency of up to 96 MHz. Security features include a dedicated hardware crypto engine with elliptic curve cryptology (ECC), delivering end-to-end banking-level encryption, ensuring personal data security. The device integrates 8 Mbit flash memory, audio support with PDM and I ²S/PCM interfaces, two separate I ²C and SPI buses, three white LED drivers, a temperature sensor, multi-channel DMA, and an 8-channel, 10-bit ADC. Intelligent power management, including system power rails and a Li-ion/LiPo battery charger and fuel gauge are also on-chip. These replace what would otherwise require separate ICs, the company contends. Multiple power rails allow control and isolation of multiple sensors, and the chip directly handles digital microphones, which are now the standard in wearable designs, Dialog comments.

Although not having sensor fabrication in-house, Dialog says it addresses all of the key aspects of wearable design; RF, application processing with the resources to “pre-digest” data, and sensor fusion. Running the M0 core at up to 96 MHz gives the power to handle arrays of sensors; the DA14680 is also a suitable choice for smart-home designs. Dialog sees the M0 core, in a low-power low-leakage technology, but run at the higher clock rate, as the optimum choice of processor at present, “but that might change in a few years,” a spokesman commented. The offering will be