Microcontroller range for touch-free sensing and voice recognition

Microcontroller range for touch-free sensing and voice recognition

New Products |
By Nick Flaherty

Renesas Electronics has launched a range of 32bit microcontrollers for touch sensing and contactless voice recognition for post-Covid-19 designs.

The RX671 family uses the company’s proprietary RXv3 CPU core operating at 120 MHz and integrates flash memory supporting fast read access at a clock speed of 60 MHz with a CoreMark score of 707, and power efficiency among the best in the class at 48.8 CoreMark/mA.

Available in a wide variety of packages with pin counts ranging from 48 to 145 pins with up to 2 megabytes (MB) of flash memory and 384 kilobytes (KB) of SRAM, the RX671 family is aimed at interface designs at heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), smart meters, and smart home appliances.

For size-constrained devices that require advanced functionality, the RX671 is available with 2 MB of flash memory in a 64-pin TFBGA package measuring only 4.5 mm × 4.5 mm – among the smallest anywhere among MCUs with 2MB flash memory.

The RX671 family is optimized for contactless applications, integrating a capacitive touch sensing unit that combines high sensitivity with excellent noise tolerance and can be used to implement contactless proximity switches. In addition, the serial sound interface can be used to connect digital microphones that support voice recognition over long distances. Used in combination with voice recognition middleware from Renesas’ RX ecosystem partners, these features enable developers to create contactless operation functions utilizing voice recognition in a short amount of time.

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“The RX671 offers the RXv3 CPU core and new functions while maintaining compatibility with the RX651, currently the most popular MCUs in the RX Family lineup,” said Sakae Ito, Vice President of IoT Platform Business Division at Renesas. “RX671will meet the needs of a wide range of customers with its combination of real-time performance, power efficiency, HMI functions, security functions, and many package options.”

The RX671 integrates Renesas’ Trusted Secure IP as a part of its built-in hardware security engine which comprises an encryption engine with AES, RSA, ECC, and SHA support, a true random number generator (TRNG), and an encrypted key management mechanism. Combining these with the dual-bank function and protection function of the on-chip flash memory, allows users to implement capabilities such as secure firmware updates and secure boot.

Renesas also introduced two new evaluation boards with the RX671 group of MCUs. The Target Board for RX671 makes it easy to evaluate the RX671 without the need for a separate debugger; the Renesas Starter Kit+ for RX671 supports detailed evaluation of the MCU’s main functions. Both boards are equipped with connectors to the Wi-Fi Pmod Expansion Board (RTK00WFMX0B00000BE) for easy evaluation utilizing wireless network connectivity. The combination of Renesas Starter Kit+ for RX671 and the Wi-Fi Pmod Expansion Board is FreeRTOS-certified, allowing users to obtain certified sample programs from GitHub and try out using the RX671 in coordination with AWS without delay.

Renesas has combined the RX671 MCUs with power devices to create a complete Touchless Button reference design, which can be used to implement hygienic proximity switches on all kinds of devices to prevent viruses or dirt from adhering to the user’s fingers.

The RX671 group of MCUs is available now in 64-, 100-, and 144-pin LFQFP packages; mass production of the 48-pin HWQFN, 64-pin TFBGA, 100-pin TFLGA, and 145-pin TFLGA package products is scheduled to start in Q1 2022. For example, the RX671 is available with a reference price of US $4.94 in 10,000-unit quantities for the 64-pin LFQFP package version with 2 MB of flash memory.

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