STMicroelectronics launches STM32 Ultra-Low-Power Microcontrollers
Written by Carol Brown
STMicroelectronics (NYSE: STM), a global semiconductor leader serving customers across the spectrum of electronics applications, has announced a new range of 32-bit general-purpose microcontrollers that will significantly extend battery life in a wide range of consumer, health, and industrial applications. The new STM32L0 ultra-low-power series features a 32MHz ARM® Cortex™ M0+ processor core, a 12-bit Analog-to-Digital Converter (ADC) that sets a new standard for low power consumption, and a USB FS 2.0 crystal-less solution.
With the ADC consuming just 40µA at a conversion speed of 100ksps, rising to just 200µA at 1.14Msps, in combination with the outstanding power efficiency of both the processor core and the ultra-low-power peripherals, applications such as fitness trackers and domestic smoke detectors powered by non-rechargeable batteries will require less frequent replacements, saving both end-user costs and the environmental burden of spent batteries. For example, an STM32L0-based fitness tracker powered by a non-rechargeable coin-cell battery could operate for up to two years before needing a new battery.
A second major benefit is that manufacturers will often be able to design equipment that uses smaller batteries, reducing the size and cost of products such as glucose meters and the rapidly growing range of portable health and fitness products. In addition, the new devices are fabricated in ST’s proprietary CMOS tech; nology that offers both embedded EEPROM, as well as the industry’s smallest variation in power consumption over the 25°C - 125°C temperature range, leading to record low consumption levels at elevated temperatures. This makes the STM32L0 microcontrollers particularly suitable for (distributed) industrial sensor applications relying on batteries or energy harvesting.
“The STM32L0 series is the latest fruit of ST’s constant quest to minimize power consumption in all electronic applications,” said Michel Buffa, General Manager, Microcontroller Division, STMicroelectronics. “This new standard-bearer enables customers to design more competitive products that will both bring immediate cost and convenience benefits to end-users and reduce worldwide consumption of disposable batteries.”
The STM32L0 series is offered in three lines: Access line, USB line, and USB/LCD line. Common features of all of the new devices include outstanding power consumption in several modes including 139 µA/MHz @ 32MHz, 87 µA/MHz using an optimized mode, and 400nA in Stop mode with full RAM retention and a 3.5µs wake-up time. The series also features up to 64KB of Flash memory, up to 8KB of SRAM, and 2KB of embedded true EEPROM. A built-in hardware oversampling capability also enables 16-bit ADC resolution. STM32L0 devices with integrated USB FS 2.0 interface support battery charger detection and link power management. Crystal-less operation of the USB is enabled via a built-in 48 MHz oscillator. All the lines offer built- in hardware engine encryption (AES) as an option.
As part of ST’s extensive STM32 family, the world’s most popular range of ARM-based microcontrollers, the STM32L0 devices benefit from the comprehensive STM32 development ecosystem. Moreover, the new devices are pin-to-pin compatible with STM32L1 or any other STM32 devices, enabling customers to rapidly upgrade designs to take advantage of the new power-saving opportunities.
Offered in UQFN32 (5x5mm), LQFP32 (7x7mm), LQFP48 (7x7mm), LQFP64 (10x10mm), and BGA64 (5x5mm) packages, the new devices are now available for sampling from US$0.85 (1,000 unit quantities), with volume production in Q2 2014.
ST is a global leader in the semiconductor market serving customers across the spectrum of sense and power and automotive products and embedded processing solutions. From energy management and savings to trust and data security, from healthcare and wellness to smart consumer devices, in the home, car and office, at work and at play, ST is found everywhere microelectronics make a positive and innovative contribution to people's life. By getting more from technology to get more from life, ST stands for life.augmented.
In 2013, the Company’s net revenues were $8.08 billion. Further information on ST can be found at www.st.com.
Five minutes with Stanley Healthcare's Troy Dayon
Stanley Healthcare provides technology solutions for caregivers, whether they are in a hospital, a care home, or at home. Here the company's President Troy Dayon explains the challenges carers face and what role technology plays in care for the elderly.
The healthcare workforce is shrinking while the population is aging. How can this be addressed?
Not only is the healthcare workforce shrinking, but the industry is facing the issue of overload and burnout among healthcare professionals.
One major approach to address this is to help each caregiver to accomplish more – not by pushing them harder but by focusing their attention on the things that matter most, harnessing technology such as AI and machine learning.
This technology provides caregivers with information on what care is needed, and which patients or residents to focus on first based on risk or acuity. The insights that it provides can help caregivers to be more efficient and address issues that would usually require more of their time, such as critical asset location, which takes time away from giving the care where it’s needed most.
What do healthcare providers need to do to address clinician burnout?
It is key for healthcare providers to understand the setting and the specific environment in which clinicians have been working. Many hospitals across the globe reconfigured entire wards to treat COVID-19 patients, and for more than a year, clinicians have been working in crisis mode.
They need the opportunity to return to regular, sustainable routines, supported by technologies that help make them more efficient, but also more fulfilled because they maximise time with patients, applying their hard-earned education and experience to work at the top of their license.
In aged care, the experience of managing a highly contagious and deadly virus has reinforced the need for a proactive approach to managing the health of residents. Caregivers need predictive tools like the Foresite solution to help them understand which residents are at greatest risk, so they can focus their efforts where they can have the most impact.
How can technology support older people?
AI-based technology such as Foresite harnesses a range of passive monitoring technologies to develop a baseline profile of a resident in aged care that highlights changes in health or behaviour. This information can help caregivers see where and when they need to spend their time, identifying heightened risk for falls and early indication of heart issues and even infections.
In fact, the technology has been shown to accurately predict events like falls, which allows intervention prior to an event occurring, rather than just automating routine processes.
Beyond this, connecting caregivers remotely to seniors to provide efficient care outside of traditional care settings is crucial. During the pandemic, there was a marked increase in the use of telehealth and remote monitoring of vitals, medication management and daily health.
These technologies fill a major gap in healthcare delivery: care for patients once they’ve been discharged from hospital, or for seniors who need some level of care but don’t need to be in an aged care home. By caring for people effectively in their own homes, we can help reduce the burden on hospitals from readmissions and leverage the expertise of aged care organisations beyond the confines of the four walls of the facility.
A lot of care is in fact delivered by unpaid carers. How can they be better supported with tech?
The remote monitoring technology that professional caregivers have access to can, in turn, also provide information and support to unpaid caregivers. For example, helping ensure a loved one is taking their medication, or knowing when they might be experiencing a change in health that can put them at risk.
Human observation is inherently limited, no matter how often you see a loved one, and you can’t always rely on what a senior says about themselves. It’s very common that they downplay problems, because no one wants to be a burden or relinquish their independence.
Remote solutions that connect family to an older relative help increase safety and wellbeing for the senior and reduce the burden on caregivers. They also make possible care decisions based on facts. At some point, a senior may need to transition to an aged care setting, which is often a difficult family conversation. This is an area where we can offer support to unpaid caregivers – reassurance during what is typically a very stressful period for the people providing that care.
In Japan several large hospitals are deploying robot nurses. Is this a potential solution?
I think the best path for robotics in healthcare is to focus on the root problem. It’s about dealing with a limited number of caregivers for a population that’s rapidly aging. Robotic technologies offer solutions that support the human healthcare providers with the information they need to make better and faster decisions about care. It’s about convergence and use of technology rather than a specific solution such as a robotic nurse.
This technology could be in the form of AI and machine learning or a robotic agent for routine administrative tasks. Removing low-value activities that distract caregivers from giving care is a key focus when it comes to robotics in healthcare. This automation can free up time for caregivers to spend more time with patients while optimising workflows.
Robots in this sense don’t replace humans. They are leveraged for what they do well – repetitive routines done with speed and precision – while humans are given the time and space to deliver what ultimately we all want: human-centered care.