With the Internet of Things (IoT) becoming a part of people’s lives, network-connected embedded systems are growing more important than ever. STMicroelectronics (NYSE: STM), a global semiconductor leader serving customers across the spectrum of electronics applications, will showcase its latest solutions for embedded systems, including a robot demo composed of a range of ST products, at Embedded Technology 2017 (ET2017).
Industrial and domestic robots are highly integrated embedded systems that incorporate many kinds of semiconductors for their computing power, real-time response, and sensing precision. ST, a company that provides a complete product portfolio for robotics applications, will showcase a humanoid robot at ET2017. The Robot is able to measure distance from obstacles and detect gestures for stopping, changing directions, and extending or retracting its arm; detect changes in temperature and atmospheric pressure; transmit data and be operated by external devices through a wireless connection; and project images on a screen. ST has developed the Robot in cooperation with Asratec Corp., a leading robotic control systems company, using the ROBOTIS OP2 open platform from ROBOTIS Co., Ltd.
The Robot integrates 29 ST products. These include an STM32 microcontroller (MCU), motion sensors and e-compass for posture detection, Time-of-Flight ranging sensors for distance and gesture detection, environmental sensors including pressure and temperature sensors, a MEMS micro-mirror, MEMS microphones, and a Bluetooth® low energy network processor to communicate with external devices. The Robot’s complex motions are controlled by Asratec’s robot controller board “V-Sido CONNECT” with an STM32 inside. Through this demo, ST will highlight its comprehensive solutions, featuring high-performance and easy-to-use products, to diverse types of robotic applications in industry, healthcare, and education.
Along with “the Cloud,” which consolidates and processes information, IoT employs “edge computing” to distribute processing functions to locations close to the data-collection points and reduce network loads while making efficient use of communication bandwidth.
At ET2017, ST will showcase a demo that “sees” a four-digit number with high precision and in real time. The demo comprises an STM32 with Artificial Intelligence and a camera module. The technology makes inferences based on inputs including images, sound, or signals from sensors, and is expected to be applied in edge devices that perform autonomous assessment and condition prediction. In addition, ST will showcase its STM32H7 series, which boasts the highest-ever performance for an Arm® Cortex®-M based MCU, along with new MCUs for wearable devices.
Diverse and advanced sensing technologies are needed in the IoT devices to collect and process information. ST will show a smart-industry demo, developed in cooperation with Nidec, that uses high-precision accelerometers to monitor motor vibrations. This technology will help create new industrial applications and services such as proactive maintenance for plant facilities and infrastructure. Visitors to the ST booth can also see ST’s newest pressure sensor. This smallest-in-class (3.3 x 3.3 mm) device seals its sensor elements and ASIC in a special gel to achieve 10bar water resistance, making it suitable for wearable devices and terminals in outdoor facilities that are frequently exposed to water.
Connectivity technologies will also be showcased. ST offers devices for different communication distances and data transmission rates, as these are key to the growing proliferation of the IoT, and LPWA (Low Power Wide Area) technologies such as Sigfox and LoRa®. ST will demonstrate data transmissions using a Sub-GHz RF IC for Sigfox, and will also demonstrate a development board for LoRa, incorporating a Murata RF module that aggregates an STM32 and an RF IC from Semtech Corporation. This development board has completed verification of connection to the services of SORACOM, Inc., a Japanese telecommunications operator. For short-distance communications, ST will showcase a smart-lock demo for Automotive and Home that combines a Bluetooth low energy IC with NFC (Near Field Communication) reader/writers.
Motor-driver ICs characterized by high precision and outstanding real-time capabilities are vital for controlling motors of varied sizes inside IoT devices. At the show ST will use a System-in-Package (SiP) device to demonstrate the operation of a drone through high-precision vector control of its propeller motors. This all-in-one SiP from ST integrates an Arm Cortex-M0 MCU, a DC/DC converter, an op amp, a comparator, a gate driver, and other components in a 7x7mm package.
The numerous embedded systems that make up the IoT are subject to the threat of cyber-attacks, including falsification, spoofing, data theft, and device misuse, making security technologies key to compensate for network vulnerabilities. ST will conduct a demo of host-terminal certification for short-distance wireless communication, using a development board with Bluetooth low energy ICs and a secure MCU with Common Criteria EAL5+ certification, the industry’s highest-level security certification. ST will also showcase its highly versatile TPM (Trusted Platform Module) solutions that strengthen the security of embedded systems.
The ST booth at ET2017 will feature a zone that offers engineers hands-on experience with the STM32 Open Development Environment, using STM32 Nucleo and X-Nucleo boards equipped with a Bluetooth low energy network processor, motor drivers for brushless/brush/stepper motors, NFC tags, motion sensors, environmental and ToF sensors. For each application, visitors will be able to run a sample program that uses an integrated development environment.
ST boards and demos displayed at the show also include ToF ranging sensors, touch-screen controllers, USB PD controllers, wireless-charger ICs, digital power supply ICs, NFC tags, and other technologies.