MCUs for complex IoT tasks

MCUs for complex IoT tasks

New Products |
By Graham Prophet

Describing the latest additions as “industrial-strength microcontrollers (MCUs)”, Silabs presents the EFM32GG11 Giant Gecko MCU family as having the most advanced feature set in the low-power MCU market, targeting smart metering, asset tracking, industrial/building automation, wearables and personal medical applications. Giant Gecko MCUs combine peak 72 MHz processing performance, large memory options, peripherals and hardware accelerators, and comprehensive software tools including the Micrium OS.


Internet of Things (IoT) applications are growing increasingly complex, driving the need for multiple sensors, sophisticated end-user displays, advanced algorithms and wireless stacks. As power budgets shrink, MCUs must excel at sleep mode to maximize battery life. Giant Gecko MCUs address these challenges, Silabs says, by pushing the boundaries of integration, performance and energy efficiency.


Features include;

– ARM Cortex-M4 processor core

– Largest internal memory footprint in its MCU class (up to 2 MB flash and 512 kB RAM) to accommodate more code, debugging capabilities, over the air (OTA) updates, data logging and rich graphics

– SD/MMC and Octal/Quad-SPI memory interfaces to support additional memory expansion capabilities for memory-intensive applications

– Fast wake-up/sleep transitions and a low-energy fabric allowing autonomous access to sensor inputs and enabling low-power peripherals to operate autonomously

– Ultra-low power consumption: 77 μA/MHz in active mode and 1.6 μA in deep sleep mode


Communication interfaces and controllers include:

– 10/100 Ethernet media access control (MAC) for IP-based industrial control

– Secure digital input output (SDIO) Wi-Fi interface for IP-based wireless cloud connectivity

– Single or dual CAN bus controllers for industrial applications

– Crystal-free USB controller for cost-effective, ultra-low-energy universal connectivity

– TFT display hardware acceleration with per-pixel alpha blending and ultra-low-energy segment LCD driver, enabling richer user interfaces

– Current-based capacitive sense engine providing robust touch input and ultra-low power wake-on-touch, simplifying the development of cap-sense applications


Also featured is advanced cryptography. The MCUs have an energy-efficient security accelerator that runs advanced algorithms with higher performance and lower power than conventional software methods, a security management unit (SMU) supporting fine-grained security for peripheral access, and a NIST-certified true random number generator (TRNG) for higher security randomization.


Giant Gecko MCUs are available in a wide range of QFN, QFP and BGA package options with up to 192 pins, including many packages that are footprint-compatible with existing EFM32 MCUs. Software compatibility across the entire EFM32 MCU and EFR32 Wireless Gecko SoC portfolio enables software reuse. Pricing for EFM32GG11 MCUs begins at $5.66 (10,000). The SLSTK3701A Giant Gecko Starter Kit is priced at $99.99.


Silicon Labs;


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