For those that don’t know, there is a company out there called Atmel. They are working on something that will change the way we interact with devices. The company was originally set up in 1984, and the company now has its focus on microcontrollers and automotive processors. These are devices that power the equipment that we use on a daily basis.
Atmel is currently being praised for its SAM L21 group of processors. They currently draw so little power that they can run for decades and decades. The chips actually harvest the power or energy sent from the human body during movement, I mean how cool is that?
The L21 group is part of the ARM’s Cortex-M0+ microprocessor series. The chip is embedded into the product and it’s really modern but small. The chip is an optimised version of the Cortex-M0, but it has one fewer pipeline stages which helps reduce power consumption and packed with more features than the other chips of that group.
The chip is actually designed to only use 35 microamps per MHz when active, and practically nothing when in sleep mode. So for a chip that uses that little power, it is possible for an Atmel 21 core to be used for decades.
Atmel’s senior vice president Reza Kazerounian had this to say “Atmel is committed to providing the industry’s lowest power technologies for the rapidly growing IoT market and beyond for battery-powered devices. Developers for IoT edge nodes are no longer just interested in expanding the life of a battery to one year, but are looking for technologies that will increase the life of a battery to a decade or longer. Doing just that, the new 32-bit MCU platform in the Atmel SMART family integrating our proprietary picoPower technologies are perfect MCUs for IoT edge Nodes.”
Atmel themselves have not revealed which process technology its L21 core uses, which is not uncommon as most companies tend to build their devices using older nodes and focusing on spending little but getting a lot. The amazing thing that Atmel are challenging is the ability to use human movement to charge these devices. It is a dream that most companies are trying to push for and one that Atmel are pushing the boundaries on.