Redpine’s SmartMCU leverages the company’s gear-shifting processor architecture and ThreadArch four-threaded network security processor

By Alex Pluemer, contributing writer

Redpine Signals,
Inc., a provider of wireless semiconductor and systems solutions, recently
unveiled the RS12000 SmartMCU family of MCUs,
which the company boasts as the first series of MCUs specifically targeted to
meet the stringent memory, security, and MIPS requirements of IoT devices and
applications. Based on a multi-core IoT
processor architecture, the RS12000 SmartMCU family provides
industry-best performance and ultra-low power while maintaining high-level
security and extending battery life as compared to standard Arm Cortex-M4 MCUs,
according to the company. Applications include voice assistant-enabled,
edge-intelligent IoT, and network/cloud-connected devices.

Leveraging
Redpine’s gear-shifting processor architecture and ThreadArch four-threaded
network security processor, the RS12000 SmartMCU family features an Arm Cortex
M4F running up to 250 MHz, a sensor hub DSP coprocessor at 125 MHz, a
four-threaded network security processor running up to 160 MHz, and a full
suite of analog and digital peripherals, including VAD, CAN, Ethernet, eMMC/SD
Card, ADC, op amps, DAC, and USB HS-OTG with PHY.

Configurations
feature up to four cores and provide double the processing power, memory, and
peripherals by including two gear-shifting Arm Cortex M4 processors and two
ThreadArch network security processors, said Redpine. The integrated network
security processor allows designers to run an embedded TCP/IP stack and access
both the RAM and M4 processor cycles. A sensor hub coprocessor operating at 125
MHz accelerates machine learning and DSP processing functions in a local sensor
data buffer, thereby lessening the load on the M4 processor.

Based on a trusted
execution environment (TEE) architecture in conjunction with a separate network
security processor, the RS12000 SmartMCU products include suite-B Crypto HW
accelerators, secure boot, secure firmware upgrade, secure XIP, and secure
peripherals, making them well-suited for IoT applications like smart home
security systems, medical devices, and voice-based ordering.

“Existing MCU
solutions in the market feature either high performance or low power, forcing
IoT device designers to choose one mode or utilize multiple MCUs in their
designs,” according to Venkat Mattela, CEO of Redpine Signals. “With its unique
gear-shifting architecture, Redpine has — for the first time — empowered IoT
designers with both high performance and low power within a single processor
core. By combining this architecture with the RS12000 series’ best-in-class
trusted execution environment, Redpine is accelerating the development of the
next generation of intelligent and wireless connected devices with zero
compromise on security.”

The RS12100 SmartMCU features include:

  • An Arm Cortex-M4F up to 250 MHz
  • A sensor hub DSP coprocessor up to 125
    MHz
  • Up to 400 KB RAM and 4 Mbytes Flash

The RS12200 high-performance MCU features
include:

  • Single-core and dual-core Arm
    Cortex-M4F versions up to 250 MHz
  • A sensor hub DSP coprocessor up to 125
    MHz
  • Up to 800 KB RAM and 8 Mbytes Flash

The RS12300 secure MCU with TEE features
include:

  • Single-core and dual-core Arm
    Cortex-M4F versions up to 250 MHz
  • A sensor hub DSP coprocessor up to 125
    MHz
  • Up to 800 KB RAM and 8 Mbytes Flash
  • A ThreadArch network security
    processor at 160 MHz: up to 1 MB ROM, an integrated security stack, an
    integrated full-featured TCP/IP stack, and TEE with secure boot

The RS12000
SmartMCU series is available in QFN, BGA, and WLCSP packages. Samples are
available now, followed by volume production starting in Q1 2019.