Renesas design platform eases IoT prototyping

  • July 14, 2021
  • Steve Rogerson

Japanese electronics company Renesas has created a design platform to ease the prototyping of IoT systems.

The Quick-Connect IoT consists of standardised boards and interfaces, enabling designers to connect quickly and easily a wide range of sensors to MCU development boards. It also has core software building blocks that are portable between boards, reducing coding requirements.

As part of this, Renesas worked with Digilent. in creating an expanded I2C Pmod Interface, type 6A, for wider coverage and added flexibility. Renesas standardised on the Digilent connector for sensor Pmods and MCU development kits. This allows designers flexibility in selecting the 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 more flexibility.

“The new Pmod interface type 6A manifests our vision of making system prototyping easier and more accessible,” said Talesa Bleything, director of marketing at Digilent. “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.”

Renesas has redefined common software APIs and HAL (hardware abstraction layer) code for a wide variety of sensors. These are embedded into the Renesas e2 Studio integrated development environment. Now, instead of writing and testing hundreds of lines of driver code, designers only need to select their sensor graphically and write a few lines of code. The integration and setup efforts are taken care of behind the scenes.

“We are laser focused on delivering solutions that enable customers to get to market faster with superior end products,” said DK Singh, senior director at Renesas.“For example, we’ve developed hundreds of winning combinations that give our customers an elevated design platform to mitigate the design risks and reduce development time. 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 standardised hardware connectivity platform allows customers to use compatible Pmods developed by third parties and other suppliers.”

Initially, 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 sensor Pmods are under development and will include a variety of sensors and peripherals.

More than 25 MCU development boards and kits spanning the RA, RX and RL78 families are compatible with the Pmod type 6A standard, either directly or through a small interposer board developed by Renesas. RE and RZ development boards will be supported soon.

“Our IoT customers require more than great MCUs, sensors and software,” said Chris Allexandre, senior vice president t at Renesas. “Quick-Connect IoT is a game-changer that extends our leadership in the IoT market.”