Developed using the company's SOTB (Silicon on Thin Buried Oxide) process technology, the new Bluetooth-capable RE01B MCU is offered as ideal for energy harvesting systems and intelligent IoT devices that need to operate constantly at extremely low power levels without the need to replace or recharge batteries. The RE01B MCU makes it easier to implement regular data management and firmware updates over Bluetooth while maintaining ultra-low power consumption, and extending the battery life.
Applications include compact healthcare devices such as pulse oximeters and biomedical sensor patches; remote controls with voice recognition capabilities and smart meter modules. In addition, says the company, the RE01B is well suited for IoT devices that require constant operation, period data collection and updates, such as devices for monitoring the elderly, children or assets in transit.
"Managing battery maintenance and replacement is one crucial hurdle ahead of the widespread adoption of ultra-low-power IoT devices that are expected to run for long periods with limited or no maintenance," says Shigeki Kato, Vice President of the Enterprise Infrastructure Business Division at Renesas. "I am excited that the addition of the new Bluetooth-capable RE MCU will remove the needs for battery maintenance in a broader range of systems, and meet the needs of IoT system manufacturers."
Built around the Arm Cortex-M0+ core, the RE01B operates at a maximum operating frequency of 64 MHz and achieves current consumption as low as 35 µA/MHz during operation and 600 nA during standby - claimed to be among the lowest in the industry for a Bluetooth-capable MCU. In addition, the RE01B can be combined with the company's ISL9123 ultra-low Iq DC/DC converter, configured as an external step-down regulator, to reduce current consumption during operation down to 15 µA/MHz for even better power efficiency.
Key features of the RE01B include:
- Arm Cortex®-M0+ core with maximum operating frequency of 64 MHz
- Support for Bluetooth 5.0 Long Range (up to 400 m) and high data throughput (2 Mbps)
- Ultra-low current consumption of 35 µA/MHz (using internal LDO) or 15 µA/MHz (using DC/DC converter) during operation and 600 nA (core: 500 nA, Bluetooth: 100 nA) during standby
- Superior peak current of 3.0 mA (1Mbps) during Bluetooth reception and 4.3 mA during transmission (0 dBm, 1Mbps)
- 1.5 MB flash memory and 256 KB SRAM with Bluetooth functionality, suitable for over-the-air (OTA) firmware updating
- Operating voltage range: 1.62 V to 3.6 V with high-speed operation of up to 64 MHz across all operating frequency range
- 64-pin QFN package measuring 8 mm x 8 mm
- On-chip energy harvesting control circuit (rapid startup capacitor charging and secondary battery charge protection functionality) allows users to achieve battery-less Bluetooth communication. Energy harvesting and power storage can be directly connected to the RE01B.
- On-chip 14-bit A/D converter with ultralow power consumption of approximately 4 µA
- Ability to program flash memory with current of approximately 0.6 mA
- Robust security functions using Trusted Secure IP
- Available APIs conforming to various standard protocols, such as Heart Rate Profile (HRP), Environment Sensing Profile (ESP), and Automation I/O Profile (AIOP), in addition to Bluetooth 5.0 protocol stack
The company's development tools for the RE Family include a QE for BLE, which generates programs for custom Bluetooth profiles that can then be integrated into the user's own application programs, and a Bluetooth Test Tool Suite, which provides a GUI that allows users to perform initial wireless characteristics evaluations and Bluetooth functionality verification. The RE01B will be combined with the company's complementary analog and power offerings to create comprehensive "Winning Combinations" solutions for a variety of applications, including reference designs utilizing the RE Family such as Wearable Devices with the RE01 32-Bit MCU and the Low Power Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) Tracking Solution, which is ideal to track the movements of persons, animals or assets.
The RE01B is available now. The EB-RE01B evaluation kit from Tessera Technology Inc. is available now. Customers can use the kit to evaluate all the peripheral functions of the RE01B, including the energy harvesting system.