element14 kicks off development competition using Cypress' PSoC 4 Pioneer Kit

September 25, 2013 // By Paul Buckley
element14 has launched the Smarter Life Challenge, a global design competition which aims to encourage participants to develop forward-thinking products.

The challenge will use the technology of single-chip systems, which have the potential to change and improve lives.

The initiative, which will use the Cypress PSoC 4 Pioneer Kit, also aims to create renewed interest in futuristic appliances, automobiles and environments.

“Despite the prevalence of computers, most of our daily environments and the things within them fail to utilise computing power to intercept problems or improve performance,” said Dianne Kibbey, Global Head of Community, element14.

The majority of refrigerators, washing machines and thermostats, for example, still rely on manual operation. However, a recent report from Pike Research notes the annual value of the smart appliance market is expected to grow from $613 million in 2012 to $34.9 billion in 2020, demonstrating huge potential for innovation.

“We’re incredibly excited to kick off this challenge and see what the participants design, as we believe the builds could have real-world implications that make people’s lives easier,” Kibbey added.

Examples of projects that could be explored include a smart oven which can detect when food is sufficiently cooked and send a text or tweet once the timer goes off. A smart coffee maker, as another example, might be able to respond to voice commands and provide text or tweet updates when finished brewing.

“The Smarter Life Challenge gives engineers the opportunity to bring their vision for the future into reality with PSoC 4,” said John Weil, senior director of PSoC marketing and applications at Cypress. "PSoC 4 is the ideal platform for this type of design contest. Its reprogrammable analogue and digital fabric allows engineers to design and build things that were not previously possible with a single-chip ARM Cortex-M0 system. PSoC 4 brings all this and more to real-world designs for $1."

The challenge will begin with a three-week qualifying period in which potential participants will submit their design idea, why they came up with it and how they plan to use the