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Sondrel launches SFA 100 IP platform

by Geny Caloisi

Sondrel has launched its SFA 100 IP reference platform. The integrated circuit (IC) design company says SFA 100 IP facilitates the creation of high-performance, battery-powered IoT devices.

Designed to be the solution for an AI computing device right at the Edge, the platform has an onboard Arm CPU to locally process data gathered from its associated sensors for onward transmission via wired or wireless connection for further analysis. Security is built-in using standard secure/encrypted protocols. 

“Knowledge is power, but raw data needs to be processed to make useful,” explained Graham Curren, Sondrel’s CEO. “The Internet of Things is all about gathering information about what is happening in a smart house, a smart factory or a smart office to make them smart. The SFA 100 IP platform has been designed specifically for this purpose by providing a compact, powerful compute capability to transform data into knowledge and add ‘smarts intelligently’. Most of the design work has already been done to create this reference design so that all that is needed is the customer’s IP and any minor customisation needed for the final ASIC. This innovative, Architecting the future, semi-custom approach, therefore, reduces risk, design costs and time to market by up to 30 per cent compared to starting from scratch.”

The SFA 100 provides the ability to integrate a machine-learning engine onto a low cost, low power edge device. It is based on the Arm Corstone-300 subsystem that ensures a very high level of security. It consists of an Arm Cortex-M55 with a secure boot with cryptographic algorithm accelerators and supports TrustZone and CryptoCell for additional protection for the onward processed data. Also included is the Arm Ethos™-U55 Machine Learning (ML) processor provides a 480x uplift in ML performance. 

This combined processing capability enables the endpoint device to perform various ‘smarts’ such as voice activation, image classification, gesture recognition, filtering, inference and tracking depending on the application. If these need more memory, they can easily be scaled up via the DRAM interface.

The design has GPIO, I2C, UART, and QSPI peripheral interfaces to capture sensor data, such as video, image, sound, static and dynamic data, and a 12-bit audio DAC for voice commands. The low overall power requirement of the SFA 100 design enables it to operate on battery power for extended periods, which is complemented by low energy, wireless connectivity using either Bluetooth BT5.1-LE or ZigBee.

Sondrel offers a complete turnkey service that turns designs into thoroughly tested, shipping silicon to reduce risk and time to market further.

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