PICMG Ratifies MicroSAM – The New Microcontroller-Agnostic Module Form Factor for the Enablement of Smart Sensors

October 8, 2020 Tiera Oliver

PICMG announced the ratification of the MicroSAM specification. MicroSAM is a new microcontroller-agnostic, ultra-small form-factor module for the enablement of smart sensors.

According to the company, MicroSAM is the first PICMG specification in a series of IIoT-related open standards to reach ratification. Also per the company, it is the only open hardware specification to date that addresses the sensor market. MicroSAM enables a fundamentally different IIoT architecture, offering a distributed architecture with true Plug and Play network integration. The specification defines a 32mm x 32mm module hardware platform for traditional sensor vendors wishing to create smart sensors.

According to the company, MicroSAM fills a need not currently addressed by other industry specifications; namely, a compact module targeted at microcontrollers for each of the Industrial IoT sensor nodes. The processing performance and I/O connectivity are targeted toward the sensor interface. MicroSAM may exist in parallel with other embedded technologies, where MicroSAM devices provide sensor connectivity, and PICMG standards such as COM Express, CompactPCI Serial, or MicroTCA provide higher layers of control.

Other specification work includes requirements for common firmware features, common data model, network architecture, and integration with the Distributed Management Task Force’s (DMTF) Redfish management API.

PICMG developed this specification to benefit the industry in three specific ways:

1) It will enable sensor vendors to create smart sensors without having to manufacture the control circuitry and/or software by purchasing these components from PICMG-compliant suppliers.

2) It will enable controller suppliers who wish to create smart sensors or smart-sensor components to do so in a way that is interoperable with other suppliers.

3) Accelerate the uptake of smart-sensor technology through open-specifications and interoperability.

Technical Highlight:

MicroSAM extends and co-exists with the existing open-sourced microcontroller ecosystem by offering a standards-based solution that has been designed for embedded use. Some of its key technical advantages are:

  • Full industrial operating temperature range
  • Small size (32mm x 32mm)
  • Low power consumption
  • Power filtering and signal conditioning for embedded installations
  • Reliable industrial-grade communications
  • Direct connectivity to a variety of sensor types (analog voltage, analog current, digital)
  • Latching connectors for secure connectivity
  • PWM output for motion control applications

For more information, visit: https://www.picmg.org/

About the Author

Tiera Oliver, edtorial intern for Embedded Computing Design, is responsible for web content edits as well as newsletter updates. She also assists in news content as far as constructing and editing stories. Before interning for ECD, Tiera had recently graduated from Northern Arizona University where she received her B.A. in journalism and political science and worked as a news reporter for the university's student led newspaper, The Lumberjack.

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