e-peas, a developer of energy-harvesting devices, is now in the process of introducing a microcontroller unit (MCU) to pair with its Ambient Energy Manager (AEM) PMIC families. This isn’t the first time e-peas has honed in on low-power IoT.
e-peas says the EDMS105N sets low energy records for Cortex-M0 devices.
Several years ago, e-peas designed a family of energy-harvesting power management ICs (PMICs) from thermoelectric generators. The company also recently tackled the notion of the “infinite battery” with its PMIC portfolio. Then, it teamed up with startup Sequans to create a “non-stop, zero-maintenance” battery-less solution using its AEM devices.
The “Lowest Power-consuming Cortex-M0 Device”?
e-peas has historically produced PMICs that harvest energy from photovoltaic, vibrational, thermal, and radiofrequency sources. Now, the company is releasing a new MCU, known as the EDMS105N: a 32-bit device enabling operation at up to 24 MHz, according to an e-peas press release. The solution employs an Arm Cortex-M0 processing core, allowing users to work with a platform that many are already familiar with.
Block diagram of the EDMS105N.
e-peas says this new MCU is the lowest power-consuming Cortex-M0 device on the market, drawing only 18 uA/MHz in active mode and 340 nA in its lowest power sleep mode. These power metrics hold true even with the real-time clock running and 8 kB of SRAM being retained. The module contains multiple sleep modes, offering a variety of power and clock gating throughout the MCU. The device also contains buck converters and LDOs built into the chip.
Furthermore, the new solution contains a variety of communication methods including:
- Two UARTs, one for normal operation and one for debugging
- Two master/slave SPI channels
- Two master/slave I2C channels
- Two master/slave I2S channels
Energy Harvesting in Action for Autonomous Surveillance
At CES, e-peas showcased a complete low-power system centered around the EDMS105N. The company implemented an autonomous surveillance system that relies solely on its energy harvesting solutions. Specifically, the system showcases two PMICs; the AEM10941, which is designed for energy harvesting via solar power; and the AEM30940, which is intended for RF-based energy harvesting.
Block diagram of the AEM10941, a photovoltaic PMIC.
e-peas and GreenWaves Technologies collaborated to bring this surveillance system to the CES stage. GreenWaves utilized its GAP8 processor to enable advanced image processing within the surveillance system, offering the ability to perform facial recognition and people counting.
A New Energy-harvesting Antenna
Finally, to complete this system, the AEM30940 connects to a new e-peas energy harvesting antenna. This antenna solution is said to be ten times smaller than standard off-the-shelf antenna products for other surveillance systems. e-peas says the antenna is suited for a variety of industrial applications such as smart metering and building automation among others.
The energy-harvesting antenna measures 1 cm by 3mm.
One of the biggest advantages of this power-optimized antenna is the breadth of its operating frequency ranges. It can harvest energy at any frequency within the range of 0.4–10.6 GHz. The device is also exceptionally sensitive; with an independent antenna orientation, the device can capture energy from a 1 W source that is 17 meters (~56 feet) away and a 3 W source that is 31 meters (~102 feet) away from any direction.
While the antenna is paired with the AEM30940 PMIC in this single solution, it can also be paired with other e-peas PMICs: the AEM30330 vibration energy-harvesting solution and the AEM30300 vibration battery charger.
e-peas Completes Its Low-power Portfolio
These new developments from e-peas—the MCU and the energy-harvesting antenna—give the company the ability to perform full system designs to fully tap into the low-power energy harvesting of e-peas previous AEM IC family.
All images used courtesy of e-peas
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