Swiss Companies Introduce the World Smallest Bluetooth Chip

March 14 2017, 03:00
Integrated in the “Swiss Silicon Valley”, the Swatch Group introduced a new Bluetooth integrated circuit, designed 100% by EM Microelectronic, Swatch Group R & D and the Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology (CSEM). The EM9304 Bluetooth chip is already qualified against the new Bluetooth Version 5.0 standard. MSC Technologies, a company of Avnet, is already distributing the solution.

The ultra-miniaturization of electronic components is crucial for the densification of functions in portable electronic devices and for Internet of Things (IoT) applications. The new Bluetooth IC is not only the smallest Bluetooth chip on the market, it also has the lowest energy consumption – compared to its competitors – for different scenarios of use, thus increasing the autonomy of connected objects, an essential factor in this field.

According to EM Microelectronic, the company manufacturing the solution, the EM9304 high-speed start-up capability is unparalleled, which makes it possible to improve the reactivity and the lifetime of, for example, electronic beacons. Better yet, the solution has already been officially qualified to meet the latest Bluetooth standard, version 5.0. 

The EM9304 is a SoC with an integrated ARC EM4 32 bit MCU with 24 MHz clock rate. The on-chip powerful RF baseband offers -96 dbm sensitivity and +5 dbm output performance. The compact chip is very power-efficient with 5.5 mA in the transmit mode and 0.9 μA in the connected sleep mode. The integrated AES-128 Hardware Encryption Engine and the True Random Number Generator both protect IoT solutions. A memory range of 136 kB ROM for the Link Layer and Stack and of 28 kB OTP for parameters, profiles and applications is available.

The new Bluetooth chip consists of more than 5 million transistors on a surface of about 5 mm2. Designed for maximum flexibility, it can be used as stand-alone solution in connection with various sensors or as HCI chip combined with a microcontroller. System integrators can take advantage of a very low power consumption or can use the chip to add a Bluetooth communication function to any portable electronic device. The EM9304 is specified for the extended temperature range -40 °C to +85 °C and is suited for industrial sensor systems.

The SPI and I²C interfaces and up to 12 GPIO offer numerous possibilities for sensor applications. With only eight external components, the design can be realized with low additional costs and space requirements. The Bluetooth v5.0 low energy device features a complete on-chip Link Layer and the stack within the ROM. Up to eight simultaneous connections are supported. A later firmware update over the Air is possible. Hard- and software Development Kits, antenna design services and certification support are offered.

The Swatch Group is one of the world leaders in circuits and systems with very low energy consumption, as well as in technologies adapted to small connected objects (the Internet of Things). Swatch Group and the CSEM, both based in the “Swiss Silicon Valley”, collaborate in a wide range of fields. As announced in February 2017, the two long-standing partners are working to develop a unique Swiss Made ecosystem, specially designed to meet the needs of small connected objects (the Internet of Things) and above all and, of course, watches. This platform will be built around a completely new, bespoke operating system.

EM Microelectronic is a semiconductor manufacturer specialized in the design and production of ultra low power, low voltage integrated circuits for battery-operated and field-powered applications in consumer, automotive and industrial areas. The company has over 35 years of experience in the design of IC processing analog and digital signals simultaneously. Its product portfolio encompasses RFID circuits, smart cards ICs, ultra-low power microcontrollers, power management, LCD drivers and displays, sensor and opto-electronic ICs, mixed-mode arrays and standard analog ICs.

MSC Technologies has already secured distribution of the EM9304 chip and is introducing the solution for the first time in public at embedded world 2017, in Nuremberg, Germany. MSC Technologies is also showing the solution in combination with its new compact SMARC 2.0 modules (pictured above) with Intel Atom processor E3900 series for energy-efficient IoT-applications. The MSC SM2S-AL SMARC 2.0 module family is populated with up to 8 GB high bandwidth quad-channel LPDDR4 SDRAM. Optionally, an eMMC Flash storage device offering up to 64 GB is available. The modules support the connection of three independent displays via DisplayPort++ and LVDS/embedded DisplayPort (eDP). The short-size modules have Gigabit Ethernet, PCI Express, SATA III, and a MIPI CSI-2 camera interface. | | |
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