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Transceiver IC supports optical USB Silicon Line GmbH (Munich, Germany) has developed a USB transceiver IC that can be used to implement active optical cables for USB 3.0 at up to 5Gbps and USB 3.1 at up to 10 Gbps. The SL86050 IC contains both a vertical cavity surface emitting laser driver and a transimpedance amplifier designed to process USB 3 signals. The device takes its power directly from the USB connector and also processes low frequency periodic signaling information. The SL86050 is available as a bare die. Silicon Line also provides ICs for optical HDMI 2.0 that, together with the SL86050, enables a long, thin and light cable to connect a PC to a headset. This gives much greater freedom of movement to the person using the headset. Raising funds Recently Silicon Line raised €6.2 million (about $6.9 million) from new and existing investors. The company said it plans to use the money to ramp up volume manufacturing of optical sub-assemblies at its facility in Hasselt, Belgium. The company’s established products support HDMI 1.4 and 2.0, USB 3.1 up to 10 Gbps, DisplayPort 1.3 and MIPI D-PHY for cameras. Silicon Line GmbH www.silicon-line.com TowerJazz Panasonic offers PDK for image sensor process Foundry TowerJazz Panasonic Semiconductor Co. (Uozo City, Japan) is offering support for designers who want to use its 65nm CMOS image sensor manufacturing process. A custom physical design kit developed with Synopsys Inc. targets smartphone, security and medical x-ray applications. This allows the use of the Galaxy Custom Designer schematic editor and simulation environment, the Laker layout editor, HSPICE, CustomSim and FineSim circuit simulators, IC Validator physical verification, and StarRC parasitic extraction. The 65nm CMOS image sensor process supports pixel sizes down to 1.12-micron and is already in production producing image sensors for digital still cameras. TowerJazz Panasonic Semiconductor Co. www.tpsemico.com First in production with ARM Cortex-M7-based MCUs, says ST ST claims a lead with its STM32F7 microcontrollers, which it says are the first to production with this ARM processor core. ST has announced the STM32F7 Discovery Kit to enable design starts with the MCU series ST asserts it is the first chip maker to begin volume production of microcontrollers featuring the Cortex-M7 processor: the latest and highest-performing Cortex-M core for advanced consumer, industrial, medical, and Internet-of- Things (IoT) devices. The architecture of STM32F7 MCUs combines the Cortex-M7 core with advanced peripherals, giving product designers opportunities to enhance application performance, add new functions, extend battery life, ensure security, and minimise use of external components. The architecture also, ST claims, saves designers’ time in optimising code performance and length, to allow extra focus on creating differentiating features in the end product. The extensible STM32F7 Discovery kit builds on ARM’s mbed and Arduino ecosystems. The kit comes with the STM32Cube firmware library, as well as direct support from an ecosystem of software-development tool partners and the ARM mbed online community. The Discovery Kit’s open hardware, priced at $49.90, includes WQVGA touchscreen colour display, stereo audio, multi-sensor support, security, and high-speed connectivity. Together with an integrated STLink debugger/programmer (no need for a separate probe), unlimited expansion capability is provided through the Arduino Uno connectivity support and immediate access to a large choice of specialised add-on boards. The STM32F7 devices are in production now, in a range of package options from a 14x14mm LQFP100 to 28x28mm LQFP208, plus 10x10mm 0.65mm-pitch UFBGA176, 13x13mm 0.8mm-pitch TFBGA216, and 5.9x4.6mm WLCSP143. STMicroelectronics www.st.com Low-power LTE 4G modem targets IoT Altair Semiconductor has designed a new family of MIPS-based chips to provide 4G connectivity to wearables and other IoT devices at extremely low power consumption. The company has optimized the new FourGee modems for the small form factor and very low power consumption characteristics that are typical of IoT devices. It claims its FourGee-1150 and 1160 chips offer up to 10 times better energy efficiency and half the connectivity cost of the standard LTE technologies being used today. Adding a FourGee LTE chip to a wearable has less than 10% impact on battery life in a typical usage scenario (i.e. if a wearable device gets ~48 hrs on Bluetooth + Wi-Fi only, then it will last for about 44 hours using FourGee LTE + Bluetooth + Wi-Fi), says the manufacturer. An LTE-powered smart meter could run for up to 10 years using several standard AA-type batteries. The FourGee chips also come equipped with next-generation OmniShield security technologies from Imagination, creating the required framework for safe deployment of services and software upgrades for IoT devices. The FourGee-1150/6401 is a low-cost LTE Category-0 chipset featuring downlink speeds of up to 1Mbps, extremely low power consumption. This IoToptimized chipset incorporates elements such as an advanced on-chip power management unit, integrated DDR memory and a low power MCU subsystem with a robust security framework. Altair Semiconductor www.altair-semi.com www.electronics-eetimes.com Electronic Engineering Times Europe July-August 2015 47


EETE JULAUG 2015
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