Renesas’ new modular IoT development platform reduces time-to-market and design complexity

Renesas Electronics Corporation, a supplier of advanced semiconductor solutions, introduced an innovative new IoT system design platform that significantly eases the prototyping of IoT systems.

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

As part of the Quick-Connect IoT system, Renesas has worked with Digilent, Inc. in creating a new expanded I2C Pmod Interface, Type 6A, for wider coverage and added flexibility. Renesas has standardised on the new Pmod 6A connector from Digilent for new sensor Pmods and MCU development kits.

This standardisation allows designers unmatched flexibility in selecting the optimal 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 even greater flexibility.

Renesas has also redefined common software APIs (Application Program Interfaces) 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 graphically select their sensor and write a few lines of code. All the integration and setup effort is taken care of behind the scenes, reducing the time to a working solution.

“We are laser focused on delivering solutions that enable customers to get to market faster with superior end products,” says DK Singh, senior director of the systems and solutions team 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.”

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

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 Renesas sensor Pmods are under development that will include a variety of sensors and peripherals.

Over 25 MCU development boards and kits spanning the RA, RX and RL78 families are compatible with the new Pmod Type 6A standard, either directly or through a small interposer board developed by Renesas. RE and RZ development boards will be supported in the near future. Customers can order development kits, sensor and interposer boards through Renesas sales and sample channels.

“Our IoT customers require more than great MCUs, sensors and software,” says Chris Allexandre, senior vice president of sales and digital marketing, IoT and infrastructure business unit at Renesas. “Quick-Connect IoT is a game-changer that extends our leadership in the IoT market.”

Availability and more information

The Quick-Connect IoT design system is available through a wide range of hardware and software offerings from Renesas. For a list of available boards, links to software downloads, literature, how-to videos and more, customers can visit here

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