Renesas launches ‘Quick-connect IoT system’ to reduce design complexity

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Image Credit: Renesas

Renesas Electronics Corporation, advanced semiconductor solutions provider, today introduced the launch of new IoT system design platform that eases the prototyping of IoT systems. The Renesas Quick-Connect IoT system consists of standardised boards and interfaces that can enable designers to quickly and easily connect a wide range of sensors to MCU development boards.

Creating a custom solution of MCUs, connectivity, and sensors is often a more difficult task than is expected. Hardware compatibility issues necessitate modification, sometimes with jumper wires or sometimes requiring a whole new board spin, while software portability often leads to increased work and a complex transition. Renesas said its Quick-Connect IoT aims to solve these issues by providing standard hardware and software building blocks to enable quick prototyping of IoT systems.

The company has worked with Digilent, Inc. in creating a new expanded I2C Pmod Interface, Type 6A, for wider coverage and added flexibility. It has standardised on the new Pmod 6A connector from Digilent for new sensor Pmods and MCU development kits. This standardisation is aid to allows designers, flexibility in selecting the optimal combination for any IoT prototype design. MCU boards will have two Pmod connectors, one for a sensor Pmod, and another for a communications module. The Pmods can also be cascaded for even greater flexibility.

“The new Pmod interface Type 6A manifests our vision of making system prototyping easier and more accessible. It conforms to the I2C specifications with an optional interrupt and reset pin plus optional control signals, giving users added flexibility for diverse types of system development,” said Talesa Bleything, Director of Marketing at Digilent, Inc in a statement. 

Renesas said it has worked on common software Application Program Interfaces and Hardware Abstraction Layer code for a wide variety of sensors, embedded into the Renesas e2 studio integrated development environment. 

This is said to give an extended privilege to designers to graphically select their sensor and write a few lines of code, instead of writing and testing hundreds of lines of driver code. The integration and setup notably happens in backend, reducing the time to a working solution.

“Quick-Connect IoT is the latest example of our commitment in this area and we will expand its coverage to support more boards and devices in the future. Additionally, having a standardized hardware connectivity platform allows customers to use compatible Pmods developed by third parties and other suppliers,” said DK Singh, Senior Director of the Systems and Solutions Team at Renesas.

Initially, the Quick-Connect IoT will include over a dozen new Renesas sensor Pmods and other modular boards, including air quality sensors, flow sensors, bio-sensing, time of flight, temperature and other sensing elements. 

Additional Renesas sensor Pmods are under development that will include a variety of sensors and peripherals. Over 25 MCU development boards and kits spanning the RA, RX and RL78 families are said to be compatible with the new Pmod Type 6A standard, either directly or through a small interposer board developed by Renesas. The company is eyeing on to support RE and RZ development boards in future.

Renesas said, the Quick-Connect IoT design system is available through a wide range of hardware and software offerings in their sales and sample channels.