FPGA/MCU watch-format platform for wearable device development

December 02, 2015 // By Graham Prophet
Lattice Semiconductor's iCE40 Ultra is a low-power platform in compact wrist watch form factor that supports multiple wearable applications. The embedded iCE40 Ultra FPGA is 60% smaller than alternative microcontrollers, and a range of hardware features make platform a fit for almost any consumer wearable device

The platform comes with user guide and demos to help expedite device design: based on the iCE40 Ultra FPGA, it features a large number of sensors and peripherals, making it a compelling platform for the design of a wide array of wearable devices.

The iCE40 Ultra FPGA uses a package that is 60% smaller than alternative microcontrollers, Lattice claims, and it supports a low power standby mode for always-on functionality, suiting it for consumer wearables that need to operate for days between charges.

Hardware features and sensors include a 1.54-inch display, MEMS microphone, high-brightness LED, IR LED, BLE module and 32 MB of flash memory. The platform also supports sensors capable of measuring heart rate/SpO 2, skin temperature, and pressure as well as an accelerometer and gyroscope. The platform comes in a wrist watch form factor (1.5-in. wide x 1.57-in. long x 0.87-in. high) with a wrist strap and a built in battery.

“One of the more popular applications to emerge from the growing Internet of Things market are wearable devices. However, with so many potential applications for wearables and their strict power requirements, it’s a challenge to find a semiconductor platform that features the right combination of low power operation and peripheral support,” said Ying Chen, product marketing manager at Lattice Semiconductor. “Our iCE40 Ultra Wearable Development Platform’s power usage and feature set make it [an option] for nearly any wearable application our customers can dream of.”

Included with the platform are a detailed user guide and several demos to showcase parallel RGB to MIPI DSI bridging, health monitor, pedometer, IR transmitter or flashlight functions.

The iCE40 Ultra Wearable Development Platform is available now direct from Lattice at a retail price of $270.

Lattice; www.latticesemi.com/ultrawearable