Embedded World 2017 - Silicon Labs enhances Gecko MCUs

1 min read

Silicon Labs has made a number of enhancements to its EFM32 Gecko microcontroller (MCU) family to meet the needs of embedded developers looking to design secure and more sophisticated IoT devices.

Using Silicon Labs’ new Jade and Pearl Gecko MCUs, developers will be able to add touch-control interfaces, powerful security capabilities and multiple low-power sensors to IoT devices. The MCUs have been optimised for high performance, low-energy applications and support over-the-air (OTA) updates to deployed end products.

Jade and Pearl Gecko MCUs have been designed to offer best-in-class hardware cryptography technology featuring an energy-efficient security accelerator, a true random number generator (TRNG) and a security management unit (SMU), enabling secure connectivity for IoT devices without sacrificing battery life.

The encryption/decryption accelerator runs the latest security algorithms with higher performance and lower power than conventional software implementations. An addition to the conventional memory protection unit, the SMU enables software to set up fine-grained security for peripheral access. Peripherals may be secured by hardware on an individual basis, allowing only privileged access to the peripheral’s register interface.

According to Silicon Labs these MCUs will now offer more flash memory (up to 1024 kB with a dual-bank architecture) and RAM (up to 256 kB) than previous-generation products, making it easier to develop feature-rich embedded applications supporting real-time operating systems such as Micrium OS.

Based respectively on ARM Cortex-M3 and M4 processors, the enhanced Jade and Pearl MCUs combine ultra-low active current consumption, a range of sleep mode capabilities and other architectural features to enable secure, battery-powered IoT products, as well as other embedded systems requiring high performance and low energy consumption. The MCUs also include an advanced capacitive sense controller that stays active when the device is in energy-saving deep-sleep mode and supports cap-touch interfaces without the cost and complexity of adding external controllers. The MCUs also feature Silicon Labs’ LESENSE sensor interface, allowing autonomous access to sensor inputs while the MCU core remains in sleep mode.

The new Jade and Pearl MCUs are software compatible with the full range of EFM32 Gecko MCUs and Wireless Gecko SoCs, enabling broad software reuse and reduced development time and cost for developers. Silicon Labs plans to introduce new Gecko MCU products later this year providing higher performance, larger memory options, more low-energy peripherals and industrial communications capabilities.