Renesas Electronics Announces the Development of Smart Analog – A Fully
Configurable Analog Front-end Technology Enabling Smarter Sensors
TOKYO -- October 23, 2012
Renesas Electronics Corporation (TSE: 6723), a premier supplier of advanced
semiconductor solutions, today introduced Smart Analog, a technology
innovation that stands to have a radical effect on the way engineers implement
sensors in embedded designs.
Modern sensor devices are complex systems that require tuning of circuitry to
convert the analog signals produced by the sensor itself into a signal
appropriate for a microcontroller’s (MCU) analog-to-digital converter (ADC)
subsystem. This iterative tuning process is time-consuming, adversely
affecting time-to-market for most projects. The analog front end (AFE), an
essential system building block to a sensor circuit, amplifies and/or filters
sensor signals that are often weak, or its electrical configurations differ
from the one used by the MCU. The AFE that performs this vital bridging
function is often difficult to simulate and must be adjusted because of
specific component behavior, board layout, and nearby noise sources. In many
cases, engineers must use a trial-and-error method to calibrate the right
analog circuit design.
Renesas is leveraging their technology expertise in both microcontrollers and
analog ICs to develop Smart Analog, an ingenious yet simple way for embedded
designers to configure their analog circuits speeding time-to-market, while
leveraging the MCU to automate sensor trimming and correct for long-term drift
resulting in a more intelligent sensor.
Key Features of the Smart Analog
1) Configurable amplifier circuits that are adaptable to hundreds of sensor
The Smart Analog technology implements a range of AFE topologies designed to
be easily programmed to support countless types of sensors with a single
device. The technology uses a set of configurable amplifier circuits, which
can be tailored using an intelligent and intuitive software GUI. This
configurability enables the engineer to adjust for sensor, board, noise and
other characteristics without board-level experimentation. As Smart Analog is
field programmable, the circuit characteristics can be modified for sensor
drift after equipment is installed, therefore reducing service and maintenance
costs for system vendors. With Smart Analog technology, sensors such as
accelerometers, flow, ultrasonic distance, gas/chemical, or even human body
sensors can be easily tuned to meet the system requirements for a wide range
of industrial, commercial and medical applications.
2) Low-power, Small Footprint Hardware Platform
Smart Analog technology replaces the discrete components that typically
measure and regulate sensor data, into a single semiconductor package.
Discrete component count can be reduced by as much as a factor of ten,
allowing for a much smaller overall footprint. Additionally, the power-on/off
feature of each block of Smart Analog subsystem yields significant savings in
power consumption, in some cases as much as 20 percent.
3) Reduced Development Time and Cost
You no longer need to be an analog expert to design your AFE. Engineers will
be able to get their development projects up and running quickly and easily
with the powerful GUI-based sensor configuration software tool that enables
“on the fly” configuration and simulation of the analog front-end, by allowing
the designer to easily change gain values or do offset tuning. This greatly
simplifies sensor calibration and debugging and can reduce the overall design
lead time between 3 to 8 months significantly lowering development costs.
The Smart Analog technology expands Renesas’ portfolio of technology solutions
to provide developers with a platform on which to innovate while focusing
their core areas of expertise. For more information about the Smart Analog
platform, please visit http://www.renesas.com/smart_analog.
All other registered trademarks or trademarks are the property of their
About Renesas Electronics Corporation
Renesas Electronics Corporation (TSE: 6723), the world's number one supplier
of microcontrollers, is a premier supplier of advanced semiconductor solutions
including microcontrollers, SoC solutions and a broad range of analog and
power devices. Business operations began as Renesas Electronics in April 2010
through the integration of NEC Electronics Corporation (TSE:6723) and Renesas
Technology Corp., with operations spanning research, development, design and
manufacturing for a wide range of applications. Headquartered in Japan,
Renesas Electronics has subsidiaries in 20 countries worldwide. More
information can be found at www.renesas.com.
Voce Communications, a Porter Novelli Company
Jessica Kerr, 415-975-2213
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