An Analog Frontend Controller for Continuous Sensor Sampling Without CPU Interaction for Fully-Integrated Single-Chip Sensor Systems

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2022 IEEE 13th Annual Ubiquitous Computing, Electronics & Mobile Communication Conference (UEMCON)

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Design of fully-integrated chip-scale systems necessitates custom design of each of the chip's functions to enable monolithic integration in silicon. We present the hardware design of a multishot ADC controller designed to automatically operate a sensor pre-amplifier and SAR ADC to digitize a long sequence of regularly-timed analog samples. This controller allows a CPU to offload work and focus on other high-priority tasks, or sleep, to conserve power. Initial results show that this IP core may reduce digital power consumption by at least an order of magnitude during analog sampling operations when compared to firmware-based control. This controller also allows samples to be taken at a consistent period without risk of CPU task interruption. A two port FIFO enables the CPU to stream processing or transmission of samples. The controller has been successfully integrated into the full digital design of the Single-Chip Micro-Mote (SCµM) SoC, which also includes an Arm Cortex M0, DMA, and IEEE 802.15.4 RF MAC. No similar digital controller designs are freely available so we aim to enable future SoC development with the publication of this design and source code, rigorously tested in simulation and on FPGA.


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