Here’s our weekly snapshot of some of the embedded news that has come through our inbox, covering products, funding, events and people news.
If I was giving awards for announcement of the week, I think most interesting news item this week has to be from STMicroelectronics, providing details of the perfume industry’s first ever-connected bottle powered by an NFC contactless chip. Paco Rabanne’s new Phantom Universe fragrance for men embeds ST’s chip in it cap, providing a gateway to the fragrance’s wider world and services.
Sensors was also a key topic this week, with a major event in the San Jose, CA, U.S., the Sensors Converge event. The keynote from Aditya Dayal, vice president of AI and sensors at View, talked about using sensors and AI to improve human health and address climate change: the agenda was to talk about smart buildings, especially since his company announced its smart windows had been installed at NTT’s new innovation headquarters in Sunnyvale, CA, which formally opened this week.
TDK announced two award wins during the same show in the Best of Sensors Awards: Milena Vujosevic was named Woman of the Year, and TDK’s SmartBug, a compact, wireless multi-sensor solution, was named the winner of the IoT and wireless category. Vujosevic is responsible for MEMS sensors packaging technology and manufacturing covering multiple technologies at InvenSense, a TDK group company. SmartBug combines TDK’s high-performance MEMS sensors and precision algorithms in a simple all-in-one wireless solution.
News & Products
Xilinx and NEC Corporation announced a collaboration on NEC’s next generation 5G radio units (RUs) expected to be available for global deployment in 2022. The latest NEC 5G massive MIMO RUs utilize digital beamforming for more efficient communication and wider bandwidth. The RUs will support a wide range of 5G frequencies, including C-Band. The Xilinx 7nm Versal AI core series devices used within the NEC RUs enable advanced signal processing and beamforming, while also integrating O-RAN capabilities. O-RAN interfaces enable open and flexible 5G RAN deployments, in addition to allowing broader interoperability with products from different vendors.
Embedded edge-native AI firm MicroAI said it has integrated its MicroAI AtomML technology with the Renesas RA microcontroller (MCU) product line, bringing machine learning to MCUs and the ability to train ML models directly in the embedded environment, claiming a first for the industry. Asset owners and manufacturers of industrial, commercial and consumer systems and devices can now quickly adopt edge AI into their machines by utilizing the MicroAI-powered MCUs. Hence intelligence can be embedded at the data source, enabling lower connectivity, cloud, and operational costs while expediting time to market for AI-powered solutions.
Truphone said that it is collaborated with Sony Semiconductor Israel and Kigen to run its IoT platform with global connectivity on the integrated SIM of Sony’s Altair cellular IoT chipsets, powered by Kigen iSIM OS. The company said this will enable massive IoT deployment as it helps connect IoT devices at scale with a completely pre-integrated, secure connectivity solution. Sony’s Altair cellular IoT chipsets currently connect millions of devices, including wearables, vehicle telematics, logistic trackers, home appliances, consumer electronics, and smart utility meters.
NeoCortec, manufacturer of small, ultra-low-power bi-directional wireless mesh network modules, announced a family of breakout prototyping and development boards that provide a simple and easy way for designers to begin working with NeoMesh, a versatile, low-power, self-forming wireless mesh network. Designed to operate either as a stand-alone development board, or in feather wing mode for compatibility with Adafruit Feather boards, the FWNCxxxx breakout boards cover the 2.4GHz, 868MHz and 915MHz frequency bands.
NevadaNano, a gas detection sensor technology developer, has announced the MPS Mini, a miniaturized version of its popular molecular property spectrometer (MPS) flammable gas sensor. Claiming to be the world’s most accurate hydrocarbon sensor in its class and eliminating the need for maintenance during its 10+year lifetime, the new addition to NevadaNano’s MPS product family measures the thermodynamic properties of the air-gas mix and accurately reports 0-100% LEL across 19 flammable gases without the need for field calibration. This meets the need for flexible sensor platforms in a wide range of non-industrial applications and makes it ideal for residential and commercial applications like smart meters and IoT devices.
Funding, emerging startups
Deep Vision, developer of an AI processor and software development suite for edge computing, raised $35 million in a series B financing round. Its processor, named ARA-1, delivers a combination of performance, power, and price for camera-based applications like such as smart retail, driver-monitoring systems, smart city, drones, and factory automation. Best known for its real-time video analytics, the processor also provides natural language processing (NLP) capabilities for voice-controlled applications. Its processing technology is complemented with a comprehensive, flexible, and robust set of development tools to easily convert neural network models into highly optimized computation graphs ready to be deployed on the ARA-1 chip.
Sternum, a code-free, device-resident IoT security, observation, and data-harvesting company, announced a $27-million Series B funding round led by Spark Capital, raising a total of $37 million to date. The firm said it believes it to be one of the largest amounts ever raised by a female-founded and led security and analytics firm, not limited to the IoT sector. Sternum can embed its patented, code-free technology and software sensors inside devices, enabling them to instantly become self-securing, while simultaneously collecting intimate data at runtime execution, and processing it in its intelligent cloud platform. The company plans to use its new funding for R&D and to grow its team overall as it ramps up global go-to-market efforts.
Rome, Italy-based cybersecurity startup Exein has completed a $6 million series A funding round. Founded in 2018, Exein said it is the first open-source framework for IoT security, designed with a strong focus on developer-first security. It looks to tackle the huge threat posed by embedded devices and the vulnerabilities carried within their firmware by providing developers with simple and effective tools for identifying, blocking and resolving potential anomalies in their IoT devices. The company is working with global partners in critical infrastructure, automotive and network infrastructure industries, and it said its embedded technology is actively protecting more than 600,000 IoT devices every day.
Next week’s EE Times AI Everywhere Forum will have three tracks covering AI in the data center, AI at the edge and AI in the device, with keynotes from Ron Martino of NXP Semiconductors, Zach Shelby of Edge Impulse, and Mukesh Khare at IBM Research. Join the conference and panel discussions on 28-29 September 2021.
The 58th DAC (Design Automation Conference) is takes place both physically in San Francisco and virtually between 5-10 December 2021. Keynote speakers include Jeff Dean of Google Research and Google Health, Bill Dally of Nvidia, and Missy Cummings of Duke University. For the first, DAC attendees will also have access to SEMICON West and the RISC-V Summit. Details here.