After being drawn to the TDK stand by some much-missed oranges, Eamon chatted with Tony about TDK’s μPOL devices, which offer the highest-levels of power density for DC/DC conversion in space-constrained applications, namely devices that require high compute density for AI, robotics, video, and real-time processing. This was definitely a highlight for ipXchange at PCIM.
The key differentiator with TDK’s μPOL is that it is a single-die technology that contains the DC/DC regulator, upper and lower MOSFETs, the drivers, and more within a single chip, starting at 3.3 x 3.3 x 1.5 mm with 15 W power output. This means that very few external passives are required in order to integrate the μPOL into a design, and Tony estimates that with all the complete design files that TDK provides on their website, you will be able to integrate their μPOL within 24 hours. Now that is quick!
And as if he knew that is how our posts usually sign off, Tony shows us two such examples in the form of compact AIoT products that use the μPOL to great effect:
The first is Labforge’s AI camera which uses the Toshiba Visconti image recognition processor, powered by the μPOL. In this live demonstration, the compact AI vision device is shown to recognise a tomato in real-time, amongst other fruits, and determine whether it is ripe based on how red it is. The camera module then transfers this data to the cloud via 100 gigabit ethernet. Though this demo is trained to recognise fruit, the device’s AI algorithm can be trained to recognised whatever is required for your application – cars, animals, planes, pedestrians, etc.
Tony also shows us Gold Sentinel’s AI-enhanced 77 GHz radar module for detecting whether a senior citizen has fallen in their care home room. By utilising AI, the sensor can be trained to recognise rapid falls that may require medical assistance, or changes in walking behaviour than may indicate injury. In this device, TDK’s μPOL provides the power for the radar, ethernet, and the controller.
From both examples, one can see how the μPOL has enabled an extremely high compute density in compact AIoT end products by providing a power solution with minimal footprint. So, now that you’ve been given some direct inspiration. What would you use this innovation for?