How Atmosic’s SensorHub Technology is Substantially Lowering the Power of Connected Devices

By Steven Stoiber, VP of VLSI Development at Atmosic Technologies

Atmosic developed SensorHub technology to significantly reduce energy consumption in connected devices that primarily monitor sensor data. With SensorHub onboard, Atmosic’s low-power Bluetooth® system-on-chips (SoCs) can locally store sensor data, power up dormant portions of the SoC on a trigger event, and transmit sensor data as part of a beacon all without the use of the CPU and without any application software. With Atmosic’s low-power Bluetooth® SoCs equipped with SensorHub technology, batteries in sensors and beacons can last the lifetime of the device. Even better, these sensors and beacons often don’t require any batteries at all. Helping to eliminate batteries not only benefits the environment but also reduces or eliminates the maintenance overhead of these devices.

SensorHub is a hardware block within the Atmosic SoC – including our ATM2, ATM3, or new ATM33 series –  that allows data to be collected while the vast majority of the SoC, including the CPU, is powered down. This allows SensorHub to 1) prolong a device’s battery as energy consumption of a sensor’s radio is substantially reduced; 2) reduce the overall RF spectral noise created as sensors are not competing for airtime or performing endless ‘re-try’ transmissions, and 3) reduce the system-wide loading on the network and cloud service that can drive operating costs up.

SensorHub consumes one-fifth or less of the energy of an equivalent solution that uses the CPU to accomplish the same task. And that’s in addition to the already impressive power savings from Atmosic’s Lowest Power Radio, On-demand Wake Up, and Controlled Energy Harvesting technologies. All in all, Atmosic’s solutions can provide an order of magnitude lower energy consumption in comparison with other Bluetooth products.

SensorHub integrates three key features to achieve this significant energy reduction:

  • SensorHub DataStore: External sensors can be easily monitored and their values saved to memory, even while all other power domains – including the CPU – are powered down.
  • SensorHub DataTrigger: The chip will wake up if any predetermined thresholds are triggered. The CPU and its associated software could then determine the next source of action. As one example, consider a sensor in a shipping container monitoring temperature. If the temperature exceeds a limit, the CPU could power up the radio and transmit the overheating condition to the cloud.
  • SensorHub DataSend: SensorHub can retrieve data directly from memory, create a transmission packet, and send the data without waking the MCU.

What’s great about SensorHub is that it can be used to track a wide variety of data. Asset tracking is something that companies across a wide variety of industries are interested in to keep tabs on the location of packages and other goods. Tracking movement is another popular use case; for example, an assisted living facility can give each resident a wearable that can track falls. There is also a strong demand for industrial and commercial buildings to monitor air quality, humidity, noise, temperature and other conditions. The possibilities are truly endless. With Atmosic’s portfolio enabling batteries to last forever – and even allowing some devices to operate without any batteries – we’ll see even more companies take advantage of IoT devices to operate more efficiently, reduce costs and keep people safe. To learn more about SensorHub, please visit here.

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