Renesas Electronics' New Embedded Controller Allows IoT Devices to Operate Sans Batteries

November 14, 2018 Laura Dolan

Renesas Electronics developed its R7F0E embedded controller based on Renesas' breakthrough SOTB (silicon-on-thin-buried-oxide) process technology that eliminates using or replacing IoT devices’ batteries. It is a 32-bit, Arm Cortex-based embedded controller that can operate up to 64 MHz for rapid local processing of sensor data and execution of complex analysis and control functions.  

The new system enables manufacturers to harvest ambient energy sources such as light, vibration, and flow, creating maintenance-free connected IoT sensing devices with endpoint intelligence for applications in industrial, business, residential, agricultural, healthcare, and public infrastructure, in addition to health and fitness apparel, shoes, wearables, smart watches, and drones.

The R7F0E consumes only 20 μA/MHz active current and 150 nA deep standby current, approximately one-tenth that of conventional low-power MCUs.

The R7F0E Embedded Controller also includes:

  • CPU: Arm Cortex-M0+
  • Operating frequency: Up to 32 MHz, and up to 64 MHz in boost mode
  • Memory: Up to 1.5 MB flash, 256 KB SRAM   
  • Current consumption while operating at 3.0V:
    • Active: 20 µA/MHz
    • Deep Standby: 150 nA with real-time clock source and reset manager
    • Software Standby: 400 nA with retention of core logic and 32 KB SRAM data, real-time clock source, reset manager
    • SRAM data retention consumes 1nA per KB of SRAM, optionally up to 256KB
  • Energy Harvesting Controller (EHC): Interface for direct robust connection to energy generating devices, and for charge management of energy storage devices
  • Analog-to-Digital Converter (ADC): 14-bit, 32KHz operation frequency, 3µA consumption
  • Graphics: 2D graphics data conversion and MIP display interface
  • Security and Encryption: True random number generator, a unique ID for each R7F0E device, AES encryption acceleration

“I am very pleased that Renesas achieved this milestone to productize our SOTB technology into a first-of-its-kind solution in the energy harvesting market,” said Yoshikazu Yokota, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Industrial Solution Business Unit of Renesas. “By removing the need for batteries, or the need to replace batteries, new markets will open for us and our customers. Energy harvesting will become a mandatory technology for a smart society and Renesas is poised to lead and expand this technology, and this market. Renesas continues to push forward with e-AI to realize AI at the endpoint, in embedded devices. Looking forward, our SOTB technology will expand our reach into use cases where combining e-AI and energy harvesting will make a very large positive impact to our day-to-day lives.”

Renesas is attending Electronica in Munich, Germany this week and will present the new R7F0E embedded controller in Hall B4, Booth #556.

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