Eta Compute Inc. (Westlake Village, Calif.), a startup IP licensor and design services company founded in 2015, claims to have developed the world's lowest power microcontroller IP with a Cortex-M3 processor core that operates down to 0.25V. This is the thought to lowest operational voltage for logic circuitry and well in to the sub-threshold voltage regime of transistor action. Eta Compute has measured data for the Cortex-M3 from ARM in 90nm 90LP process and as the voltage scale from 0.25V to 1.2V the maximum clock frequency scales from 250kHz to 90MHz, the company said by way of email correspondence. The company's low-power system-on-a-chip (SoC) and microcontroller intellectual property is intended to operate in energy harvesting regimes and support autonomous Internet of Things deployments.
A continuing challenge for large scale deployment of IoT devices is the need to minimize service/cost by extending battery life to decades. At these lifetimes, devices become effectively disposable (OK – a new recycling challenge) and maintenance may amount to no more than replacing a dead unit with a new unit. Getting to these levels requires effort to manage dynamic, leakage and sensor power consumption. Managing leakage has been covered in many articles on FinFET and FDSOI technologies and discussions on aggressive power switching, though this challenge is not as acute in legacy processes. I wrote recently about advances in managing sensor power where at least for some types of sensing, standby power can be reduced to zero.
Eta Compute, the company that removes power as an obstacle for the infinite Internet of Things (IoT), announced its flagship solution, EtaCore™, the world’s lowest power microcontroller IP, which operates on the smallest energy harvesting supplies without compromising functionality or performance.