FPGA-based wearable device development platform breaks down size barriers

21-12-2015 |   |  By Paul Whytock

Three design imperatives when it comes to creating wearable devices for consumers are low power consumption, compact size and a list of functions that will unnerve competitors.

In a new development American chip maker Lattice Semiconductor has created an FPGA-driven wearable design platform which it says is 60% smaller that alternative microcontroller designs Lattice.

The platform is based on the iCE40 Ultra FPGA which features a range of sensors and peripherals and also supports a low power standby mode for always-on functionality.

Hardware features and sensors supported by the iCE40 Ultra Wearable Development Platform include a 1.54in display, MEMS microphone, high-brightness LED, IR LED, BLE module and 32MB of flash memory.

The platform also supports sensors capable of measuring heart rate/SpO2, skin temperature as well as an accelerometer and gyroscope.

The platform comes in a wrist watch form factor (1.5-inches wide x 1.57-inches long x 0.87-inches high) with a wrist strap and an integral battery.

These FPGAs offer up to 3520 LUTs and up to 26 I/O's for customised interfaces. Integrated hard IP and programmable logic enables quick customisation. The device can handle IR remote functions, barcode reading, touch sensing and user identification.

Other features include:

  • Programmable I²C & SPI interfaces.
  • 10kHz low power scillator.
  • 48MHz high performance oscillator.
  • Four 16 x 16 multiplier & 32bit accumulator blocks.
  • Programmable PLL.
  • Three 24mA constant current sinks.
  • One 500mA constant current ink.
  • Up to 80kbits of embedded block non-volatile RAM.


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By Paul Whytock

Paul Whytock is European Editor for Electropages. He has reported extensively on the electronics industry in Europe, the United States and the Far East for over twenty years. Prior to entering journalism he worked as a design engineer with Ford Motor Company at locations in England, Germany, Holland and Belgium.

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