Programmable-analogue SoCs for multi-sensor connected devices

June 14, 2016 // By Graham Prophet
Cypress’ PSoC analogue coprocessor can be configured to provide custom interfaces for a variety of sensors in industrial, home appliance and consumer systems.

The PSoC Analog Coprocessor, that comes in a 3.7 x 2.0-mm chip-scale package, is based on a 32-bit ARM Cortex-M0+ signal processing engine. With flash-based programming, it delivers a low-cost, fully programmable analogue front end with opamps, programmable gain amplifiers, analogue multiplexers, analogue-to-digital converters, analogue filters and digital-to-analogue converters.

Many IoT applications require multiple sensors and can benefit, Cypress proposes, from dedicated coprocessors that offload sensor processing from the host and reduce overall system power consumption. The PSoC Analog Coprocessor integrates programmable analogue blocks, including a new Universal Analog Block (UAB), which can be configured with GUI-based software components. This combination simplifies the design of custom analogue front ends for sensor interfaces by allowing engineers to update sensor features quickly with no hardware or host processor software changes, while also reducing BOM costs.

 

For example, in home automation applications, engineers can configure the PSoC Analog Coprocessor to continuously monitor multiple sensors, such as temperature, humidity, ambient light, motion and sound, allowing the host to stay in a standby low-power mode. Future design changes to support new sensor types can also be implemented by reconfiguring the programmable analogue blocks.

 

Accompnaying the device is the free PSoC Creator Integrated Design Environment (IDE), which simplifies system design by enabling concurrent hardware and firmware development using PSoC Components—free embedded IP accessed by icons in the IDE. Configure the programmable analog blocks in the PSoC Analog Coprocessor by dragging and dropping components on the PSoC Creator schematic and customizing them with graphical component configuration tools. The components offer fully engineered embedded initialization, calibration and temperature correction algorithms.

 

“The PSoC Analog Coprocessor makes sensor interface design accessible to embedded systems engineers without requiring expertise in analogue system design; this comes with the added benefit of enabling rapid prototyping and design iterations in software with no hardware changes by simply modifying components in PSoC Creator,” said John Weil, vice president of MCU marketing at