Energy-efficient MCU with ARM Cortex-M4 core plus FPU

May 14, 2013 // By Graham Prophet
Energy Micro's EFM32 “Wonder Gecko” microcontroller that combines floating point and extreme low leakage technology to achieve longest battery lifetime in portable applications, is now available.

Energy Micro is now shipping its latest and most advanced microcontroller, the EFM32 Wonder Gecko, with devices and development kits available immediately. The Wonder Gecko MCU includes the ARM Cortex-M4 processor that provides a full DSP instruction set and a dedicated floating point unit (FPU). The EFM32 Wonder Gecko also utilises an eLL (extreme low leakage) process for ultimate low-power operation in active and sleep modes.

“Embedded designers have asked for lower power-down current at higher temperatures. To support this we have been working with TSMC to utilise new technology that cuts the power consumption in half at 85°C”, says Energy Micro's CTO, Øyvind Janbu. “Pairing low sleep current with the floating point performance of the Cortex-M4 and its DSP instruction set makes it possible to collect and process large chunks of data, such as sensor readings, perform computation in a fraction of the time required by other microcontrollers, and then return to the most energy efficient sleep modes faster than before”.

The Wonder Gecko family consists of 60 scalable memory and package configurations with up to 256 KB Flash and 32 KB RAM, and QFN64 to BGA120 options. All options include the autonomous Gecko peripherals and interface options like LESENSE, LETIMER, PRS, USB and TFT/LCD drivers for a complete system on chip solution.

Design tools for planning, coding and design verification are supported by Energy Micro's free Simplicity Studio suite. To reduce the design time, Simplicity Studio includes the CMSIS-DSP library with over 60 functions in fixed-point and single precision floating-point (32-bit) implementation, and documentation for DSP algorithms such as complex FFT, FIR filters, matrix and vector operations and statistical analysis. All supporting hardware development tools come with a built-in J-Link debugger from SEGGER, so it is only necessary to plug it into your computer?s USB port to get started.

The EFM32 Wonder Gecko microcontrollers cost from $2.64 (100k), and the accompanying starter kit with built in J-Link debugger,