The Microcontroller Design Dilemma #Forecast @semiEngineering
Semiconductor Engineering looks at the state of microcontroller development, some of the current challenges and how designers may be looking to design future products. Major focuses have been onboard flash memory holding back speeds (and size/cost) and the emergence of the RISC-V architecture.
The humble microcontroller is getting squeezed on all sides. While most of the semiconductor industry has been able to take advantage of Moore’s Law, the MCU market has faltered because flash memory does not scale beyond 40nm.
At the same time, new capabilities such as voice activation and richer sensor networks are requiring inference engines to be integrated for some markets. In others, reliability, safety and/or security are adding to the levels of complexity demanded in these devices. As a result, MCU vendors are rethinking what these devices look like, dispelling many long-held assumptions.
They go on to look at usage:
“Several years ago the IoT was the hottest topic, and so connectivity was put on everything,” says Lowman. “But it really didn’t provide enough value to the end user… Devices need to do more things on their own, (and) doing something with the data.
The ability to provide some custom acceleration in hardware allows them to ensure that the power consumption, the value that the processor can provide is good or competitive enough compared to the things that others are providing. So we do see a lot of AI accelerators out there, which the MCUs will continue to have to keep up with.”
Adafruit publishes a wide range of writing and video content, including interviews and reporting on the maker market and the wider technology world. Our standards page is intended as a guide to best practices that Adafruit uses, as well as an outline of the ethical standards Adafruit aspires to. While Adafruit is not an independent journalistic institution, Adafruit strives to be a fair, informative, and positive voice within the community – check it out here: adafruit.com/editorialstandards
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.
Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.