In this catchup between ipXchange and Atmosic at CES 2024, Nick shows Guy the evolution of remote control units (RCUs) that utilise Atmosic’s energy harvesting SoCs before expanding these principles of low power consumption to wider product markets such as smart buildings and intelligent sensor nodes.
For the uninitiated, Atmosic’s SoCs, in addition to microcontroller and wireless functionality, provide designers with the option for energy harvesting from a variety of different sources. In the case of RCUs, a PhotoVoltaic (PV) cell is used to harvest ambient light energy, and the power-management solution within Atmosic’s devices converts this energy to a useful format and delivers it to the application circuit and/or storage device. This means that RCUs no longer require heavy AA or AAA batteries, and over the years, Atmosic has enabled designs to run solely on ambient light energy.
As Nick explains, the PV cell itself has also needed to evolve for better energy capture and a more discrete appearance on the end product itself; there are now PV cells that are almost invisible to the consumer thanks to an outward overlay that matches the rest of the enclosure while still harvesting energy efficiently. Together, these advances in PV technology and Atmosic’s ultra-low-power MCUs has enabled beautiful products that do not require a primary battery.
Nick and Guy then move onto low-power smart tags, which require long battery life in the range of years to be useful, but also have the difficulty of energy-hungry wireless transmissions to consider. Atmosic’s ultra-low power consumption also aids in this type of application to prolong the battery life as long as possible, but where things get really interesting is Atmosic’s latest Matter-ready devices.
Where many Matter-capable products aim to be operated while plugged in, Atmosic’s low power consumption means that Matter can run on battery-operated devices that can be placed in hard-to-reach locations where wiring is not easily available, such as for occupancy monitoring in a historical building with a tall ceiling. In this case, the key here is not so much that the sensor node is running on batteries but that the battery life is greatly extended, reducing maintenance costs for these sorts of interesting IoT deployments.
The additional support for the 802.15.4 wireless protocol means that your devices can talk to each other even when the central wireless system, such as Wi-Fi, goes down. Atmosic’s solution also reduces the energy requirements of the vital security infrastructure required to keep your IoT safe from attacks when such an occurrence is a deliberate act.
Learn about Atmosics new ATM34 devices by following the link to the board page below. As Nick mentioned, these are pin-compatible with the previous [ATM33 devices: https://ipxchange.tech/boards/atmosic-atmevk-3330e-evaluation-kit-for-atm3330e-bluetooth-soc/ ], so if you’re already designing with Atmosic and want to add Matter, Thread, and Zigbee to your existing design, you win!
P.S. Guy [previously discussed Matter with Arduino CEO Fabio Violante: https://ipxchange.tech/news/making-stuff-simpleis-very-complicated-arduinos-mission-to-make-matter-viable-for-all/ ], so check out that conversation to learn more about this unified wireless protocol.