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Silicon Labs outs 32bit MCUs to secure wearables, IoT nodes

08 Jan 2016  | Susan Nordyk

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Silicon Labs has developed a couple of EFM32 Gecko MCU families that promise to bring enhanced security and energy-management for wearable health and fitness trackers, security sensors, point-of-sale devices and other IoT node applications. The Jade Gecko and Pearl Gecko MCUs combine hardware cryptography with an on-chip DC/DC converter, low-energy modes, and scalable memory options, detailed the company.

Jade Gecko, Pearl Gecko MCUs

Based respectively on 32bit ARM Cortex-M3 and M4 cores scaling up to 40MHz, the Jade and Pearl MCUs have hardware cryptographic engine that performs autonomous communication encryption and decryption using Internet security protocols with minimal CPU intervention and without sacrificing battery life. The crypto-accelerator supports advanced algorithms such as AES with 128bit or 256bit keys, elliptical curve cryptography (ECC), SHA-1 and SHA-224/256.

To reduce energy consumption, the MCUs employ a peripheral reflex system that lets low-power peripherals operate autonomously while the MCU core sleeps. Energy-saving low active-mode current (63µA/MHz) enables computationally intensive tasks to execute faster. Sleep-mode current (1.4µA down to 30nA) and ultrafast wakeup/sleep transitions further optimise energy consumption.

Jade Gecko block diagram

Jade Gecko block diagram

Engineering samples of the EFM32JG Jade Gecko and EFM32PG Pearl Gecko are available, with production quantities slated for 2Q16. Prices start at $1.24 for the Jade Gecko and $1.65 for the Pearl Gecko, both in lots of 10,000 units.

Pearl Gecko block diagram

Pearl Gecko block diagram

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