Alif Semiconductor Balletto Multi-Protocol Wireless MCU With MicroNPU

Alif Semiconductor’s family of Balletto wireless 32-bit microcontrollers adds Bluetooth Low Energy 5.3 and 802.15.4 wireless connectivity to its ground-breaking Ensemble family of devices. Engineers now have a single-chip solution for AI processing at the endpoint, Cortex-M-class real-time control, and Matter-ready wireless connectivity.

The ultra-compact sub-16 mm² form factor enables Balletto’s integration into the smallest of end products. Typical applications include wireless earbuds, VR/AR glasses, smart wearables, and handheld point-of-sale systems.

The Balletto B1 device (the first in this new product family) builds upon the same basis as the Ensemble family’s E1 MCU, with the following key specifications:

  • 160-MHz Arm Cortex-M55 real-time core with Helium Vector Extension
  • Arm Ethos-U55 NPU with 128 MACs per clock for AI hardware acceleration
  • Dedicated RISC-V Network CPU
  • Dedicated Cortex-M0+ security CPU
  • 4 MB integrated memory (1:1 NVM/RAM ratio)
  • 22 µA/MHz run current (700 nA in stop mode)
  • High precision analogue I/Os
  • Dedicated microphone and sensor inputs + camera interface
  • Simultaneous BLE and Matter operation
  • Bluetooth LE audio and Auracast broadcast audio support

Providing a distinct advantage over older microcontroller technology, Balletto boasts 22x the audiomark per MHz when compared to the Cortex-M4 architecture, with lowest latency, highest efficiency, and LC3 decode/encode capabilities.​

As with the Ensemble family of devices, Balletto’s Cortex-M55 + Ethos-U55 microNPU architecture enables AI processing that is around 800x faster than the previous Cortex-M generation, runs 78x faster than M55 alone, and consumes 76x less energy than M55 alone, based on an image-processing benchmark. This highly efficient AI operation makes Balletto great for battery-operated IoT devices where high-level AI processing is required for the application, such as in security systems.

With an RF Rx current (1 Mbps BLE) of 1.5 mA and an RF Tx current (0 dBm Tx Pout) of 2.0 mA, Alif estimates that Balletto will enable a greater than two-fold boost to the battery life of wirelessly connected end products.

General availability of this chip is expected for Q3 2024, so to gain early access to more information and a place in line for evaluation, fill out the form below and ipXchange will get you connected with Alif. For those already working with Alif’s Ensemble devices, workloads are portable to the Balletto family in the case that you would like to add its new functionality to an existing project.

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