Green in: Building better displays, designing lower-power Bluetooth, seeking universal chargers

November 1, 2009 OpenSystems Media

In our Deep Green Editor's Choice section, we look at technology helping design green into today's new products.

The IP and System-on-Chip (SoC) implementations we highlight this month are tackling some of the toughest problems in powering devices. Featured solutions include IP for better TV-quality displays, mixed-signal IP with both hardware and software for a new Bluetooth standard, and IP for two-way power supply communication.

On the device display path

Smart phones, Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs), netbooks, mobile TVs, portable navigation devices, and other embedded devices with displays are seeing demand for TV-quality visuals that don’t drain batteries, even in outdoor lighting.

Made just for this challenge, QuickLogic’s ArcticLink II VX2 Customer-Specific Standard Product (CSSP) solution integrates the company’s second-generation Visual Enhancement Engine (VEE) Proven System Block (PSB) and Programmable Fabric. It’s a very low-power platform offering better quality for displays while prolonging battery life.

Figure 1: ArcticLink II VX2

QuickLogic Corporation
RSC# 43355

New energy in Bluetooth

A new push for more embedded devices is happening in wireless with the advent of the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) spec. At ARM TechCon3, Triad Semiconductor displayed its ARM Cortex-M0 based “Mocha” SoC design platform demonstrating BLE.

Figure 2: Mocha SoC design platform

With a Z-Focus BLE-Z stack and an EM Microelectronics BLE radio, the demo showed how to quickly design mixed-signal platforms for very low-power wireless apps on embedded devices.

Triad Semiconductor
RSC# 43357

Z-Focus Technology Group
RSC# 43358

Managing the power plug

We’ve railed on this before … it is irritating that almost every embedded device has to come with its own unique wall-plug charger. I mean, why do we go to such trouble to take standard power out of the wall and make it into nonstandard power for a device? If a power connector could be standardized and the power could be set up intelligently, the “universal charger” would be a lot closer to reality.

Green Plug is partnering with Imagination Technologies to implement its Greentalk technology in new chips and processors based on Imagination’s IP that enable consumer electronic devices to exchange power information through the power line between power adapters and electronic products.

Figure 3: Green Plug power hub

Green Plug will develop two new products using Imagination’s IP: the next-generation Green Plug Power Processor (GPP) chip for power supplies and the Greentalk Load Processor (GLP) macro for consumer electronic devices. With GLP, devices can communicate with Greentalk-enabled power supplies directly over the existing power cable and connector on the device.

Green Plug
RSC# 43754

Imagination Technologies
RSC# 43753

Don Dingee (Editorial Director)
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