Cypress Semiconductor claims to have revolutionized the embedded design space with its high performance, low power PSoC 3 and PSoC 5 programmable system-on-chip architectures.
Thanks to some great work done by my associate Usha Prasad, and Cypress’ Meghna Bhutoria, I was able to find out more about this launch in an in-depth conversation with Rajeev Mehtani, Senior Vice President, Cypress Semiconductor, India Operations. I also discussed with him, the India advantage for Cypress, as well as his views regarding the Indian semiconductor industry today.
PSoC and its benefits
Cypress’s PSoC is the world’s only programmable embedded SoC integrating configurable analog and digital peripheral functions, memory and a microcontroller on a single chip. It is a revolutionary design methodology.Source: Cypress
A number of analog and digital components are available. Then there’s an MCU. Typically, if you take an MCU, everything is fixed. In the PsoC, everything is programmable. ASIC is the end game in full programmability. For PSoC, you can immediately go on with designing the product. You can even make changes as you design. You are not paying for ASIC pricing!
The three main values a PSoC provides customers are:
Integration: The ability to integrate discrete components and reduce BoM costs, reduce manufacturing costs (PCB layout costs), and reduce power consumption with fewer devices.
Programmable Analog: The ability to integrate analog discrete components like amps, filters, ADCs, etc as well as to integrate signal conditioning.
Flexibility: The traditional benefit of programmability—ability to continuously be able to respond to change, real-time and parallel prototype/design/production of products to get to market faster.
PSoC 3 and PSoC 5 architectures
Cypress is introducing new, scalable architectures to extend the PSoC design methodology to the precision analog, programmable digital and high performance 8- to 32-bit world. The PSoC 3 and PSoC 5 architectures consist of numerous product families per architecture with hundreds of devices under each family.
The PSoC 3 and PSoC 5 architectures are powered by high performance, industry-standard processors:
* PSoC 3 architecture is based on a new, high-performance 8-bit 8051 processor with up to 33 MIPS.
* PSoC 5 architecture includes a powerful 32-bit ARM Cortex-M3 processor with up to 100 DMIPS.
Features of the new PSoC 3 and PSoC 5 architectures include: programmable precision analog sub-system, programmable high-performance digital sub-system, high-performance CPU sub-systems, industry leading low power, and programmable and feature-rich I/O and clocking.
PSoC to change way embedded designers solve problems
PSoC removes the barriers designers face with fixed function MCUs. Programmable analog and digital blocks in PSoC give designers the flexibility to adapt to changing requirements quickly and easily, while designing products that specifically meet market demands.
We work in an environment where change is the only constant. PSoC gives designers the flexibility to:
• Add new features to the application.
• Differentiate their products.
• Makes it easy to tune and adjust their designs during debug/system bring-up.
With ASICs and traditional SoC offerings, semiconductor companies around the world offer an assortment of choices — but in the end designers still end up compromising on the system features or on the price they are willing to spend. However, with PSoC, they can optimize, rather than force these compromises and in the end get more functionality, in some cases greater than 100 percent efficiencies, at lower system costs and better power savings, to and get exactly what they need.
Let’s take an example using a typical lifecycle development model. The product marketing group identifies and defines the next big consumer electronic product that’s going to revolutionize the world. Only problem, they’re not exactly sure they fully understand what the requirements are yet but know they need to get moving in order to get the product to market quickly. So, they hand over a set of requirements to the designers who in turn identify what functional components they are going to need to deliver; rough layout, there is some early research and they are usually successfully past the architecture definition milestone in the design lifecycle.
However, as the final architecture design is reviewed and further progress is made through the other phases to get the product into production, marketing continues to clarify the requirements and the developers are expected to quickly adapt those in the design. And this adapting means complete redesigns at every stage of the process. With PSoC, designers have the means to adapt by using the programmable fabric within their device to swap out components, add or remove components and keep the design cycle moving in the right direction—all the way through to production.
Bill of materials (BoM) integration saves power, cost
PSoC doesn’t just enable adapting to change, though. It also helps reduce other components in the system or enable additional functionality that could provide key product differentiation. For example, say, a sleek new capacitive touchscreen needs to be implemented in a car using SoC as the main interface controller. However, the actual application needs to do much more than provide an interface.
It probably also needs to communicate to a primary entertainment center CPU, communicate with the vehicle’s on-board diagnostic CPU, interact with the GPS subsystems, etc. Now, the application developer can do all of these with PSoC! The PSoC can be the main communications hub between this interface and all of the other electronic vehicle subsystems, provide additional interface control by driving other I/Os. So, one PSoC unit reduces the number of components needed, increasing the profit margin. A reduction in the number of components also reduces power consumption and enables smaller form-factor designs—less PCB costs, plastics and casing, etc.
PSoC helps designers future-proof their design through the use of an adaptable design framework and maximizing the efficiency of components selected. All this enables them to develop their application at the smallest possible form factor, with the smallest power budget and with even fewer costly components—all on time for project success!
The new PSoC Creator simplifies things further by helping developers design the way they think! It has a revolutionary GUI and uniquely powerful hardware/software co-design environment. It provides a rich library of dozens of pre-configured analog and digital peripherals that can easily be dropped into the schematic design canvas and combined into powerful systems.
PSoC Creator Designer Tool
To help our customers take advantage of the new capabilities of PSoC Cypress has also introduced the PSoC Creator.
The unique, new design software enables engineers to design the way they think, using schematic-based design capture along with certified, pre-packaged peripherals to keep system creation independent of the target PSoC device.
Instead of trawling through device documentation and memorizing register maps, users simply layout the design, just as they would on paper or a whiteboard, and let the tool translate it into the PSoC configuration. With PSoC Creator, customers create designs according to application requirements, not the limitations of the target device. Re-targeting to new devices is as simple as rebuilding an application, so porting designs between PSoC devices becomes a snap, including migrating working designs seamlessly from 8- to 32-bit devices. More information and free downloads of PSoC Creator are available at www.cypress.com/go/psoccreator.
PSoC Creator combines a state-of-the-art software development IDE with a revolutionary graphical design editor to form a uniquely powerful hardware/software co-design environment. It provides a rich library of dozens of pre-configured analog and digital peripherals that can easily be dropped into the schematic design canvas and combined into powerful systems.
The tool automatically routes all on-chip signals and can even direct I/O to the optimum pins if desired. Each peripheral component is carefully parameterized so that the implementation can be optimized to fit the developer’s needs perfectly with no wasted resources. The build process generates a consistent, easily remembered set of APIs for each component that allows the software developer to control the hardware without worrying about the underlying implementation. Customized designs, and their associated APIs, can even be saved in a library for future reuse and easily shared within an organization.
Cypress also offers fully functional, free compilers with no code size limitations for both the PSoC 3 and PSoC 5 device families. The Keil CA51 Compiler for PSoC 3 and the GNU GCC-ARM Compiler for PSoC 5 are both bundled with the PSoC Creator distribution. PSoC Creator also includes a built-in debugger to support the on-chip debug and trace functionality provided in all PSoC 3 and PSoC 5 devices. Real-Time Operating Systems (RTOS) supported include Keil RTX51Tiny, Micrium mC/OS-II, and SEGGER emboss. The PSoC Creator is expandable so new compilers, editors and Real-Time Operating Systems can be added in the future.
PSoC’s applications in various fields
Over the last six+ years, Cypress has witnessed explosive growth with its PSoC 1 architecture and devices with over 9,000 active customers. An active PSoC customer is defined as a customer who has purchased a PSoC product within the last rolling 12-month period.
PSoC acceptance and adoption has been broadly seen across a highly diverse set of end-products from cellphones, cameras, to electronic baby buggies, to coffee makers, to network switches, to toys etc.
The unique programmable analog and digital peripherals in PSoC 3 and PSoC 5, along with new high performance 8-bit and 32-bit MCU sub-systems, enable new capabilities such as motor control, intelligent power supply and battery management, human interfaces such as CapSense touch sensing, LCD segment display, graphics control, as well as audio/voice processing, communication protocols, and much more.
These new capabilities dramatically expand the markets that PSoC can address, including industrial, medical, automotive, communications and consumer equipment. The total available market for PSoC products is now expanded to over $15 billion, spanning across 8-, 16- and 32-bit applications, as well as precision analog markets.
Cypress has major presence in industrial, power, telecom, white goods and other consumer applications. Cypress is the leader in CapSense and USB solutions. The India market for PSoC looks promising and is picking up. The PSoC has established its presence in process control, medical and industrial automation in India market. Some emerging applications include the e-bike, in consumer gadgets and CapSense in white goods.
Taking the India advantage further, India has unique applcations such as solar, power, medical, etc. “We have been able to get the PSoC architecture designed into leading solar equipment, portable medical devices, etc. Some typical applications in the solar space are charge controllers, and portable blood pressure monitors portable blood sugar monitors, portable ECG devices in medical electronics,” said Mehtani.
PSoC allows for flexibility as well as iterations of the system design to take place at any time during the system design cycle. India is fast emerging in a number of new applications such as power, solar and portable medical. The PSoC is enabling a number of companies designing in these spaces to create new applications quickly. Some other applications where PSoC has established its presence are: process control, medical and industrial automation in the India market.
Serving the growing Indian product design market
Cypress has been increasing its presence in product designs through direct, channel resources over the years. There has been a substantial increase in engagement in last two years with the formation of global marketing and application teams in india. “We offer a wide variety of production ready reference designs, which customers can quickly ramp up in production,” he said.
Here are a few real-life examples of PSoC 1 in India:
PSoC CapSense: Front panel interface for LCD TV, High end refrigerators, medical equipments, key phones, remote controls, industrial equipments, weighing machines, etc.
Core PSoC: PSoC core value of implementing embedded system on single chip solution is implemented in India for a number of applications like process instrumentation, temperature controllers, environmental monitoring, signaling systems, flow meters, gauges, E-bikes, ECG machines, etc.
PSoC 3: So far engaged are trip unit, surge protection, power management, high end process instrumentation, medical, etc.
In consumer electronics, Cypress is working with a leading Indian house manufacturing consumer electronics equipment for CapSense applications. There will be a high end TV with CapSense soon. Cypress is also looking at designing with a lot of other Indian manufacturers in the white goods space.
Cypress on Indian semicon industry trends
The state of the Indian semiconductor industry in 2009 has been more or less the same as that of the rest of the world with Q1 and Q2 being the bottom of the cycle. Demand has however picked up in the last few months.
In general, the India semiconductor market can be characterized by dividing it into the following major parts:
* Firstly, there is the consumer driven application. This application is driven by demand for TVs, STBs, mobile phones, etc. These are typically global application where we end up either manufacturing or modifying the design to suit Indian applications. Given the good GDP growth in India this will continue to be a growth market.
* Secondly, there is the India driven applications such as inverters, solar, medical etc. Here, we have Indian companies which are competing with the rest of the world. Given that these markets are typically new we see innovation as well as good growth in these markets.
* Lastly, there a number of products, which have a lot of engineering content from India (software, firmware, IC design). This market is continuing to grow, but at a slower pace.