Electronic Design

Atmel Covers Processors, Secure Memory and Cap Touch

Atmel was out in force at ESC Boston with a range of new and recent products including the CAP (customizable Atmel processor) that I covered earlier (Chip Twists ARM With Custom Logic, ED Online #15982). The Atmel CAP development board (Fig. 1), configurable at system design time allowing production of custom chips with significantly lower up front costs, was on display. The development board actually includes an FPGA so designs can be tested without building the chip. Transferring the design to a CAP is a straight forward process once the application is ready to roll. The processor core is an ARM7 or ARM9. The ARM9 kit is priced at $995. A number of related announcements to CAP include support by companies like Amulet Technologies. Amulet’s "Graphical OS in Silicon" LCD driver is now available with CAP. Atmel also had its crypto memory on display with RFID support that was a nice complement to the RFID show around the corner. I will be doing a review of the AT88SC0808CRF RFID kit later but I wanted to mention one interesting thing I overlooked when I covered the crypto memory before. The chips are available in a range of sizes and the memory can be partitioned into 16 blocks. Multiple keys can control access to the blocks. The interesting aspect I overlooked is that the keys can enable access to overlapping blocks allowing one key to provide access to some of the same memory as another key. It means partial shared access is possible using these chips. Another company in this mix with Atmel was Quantum Research. Quantum is into capacitive touch sensing with technologies like QTouch and QMatrix. I’ll have more on this later as well but keep an eye out for its Adjacent Key Suppression (AKS) technique. This avoids false triggering of nearby keys and registers only the intended key. This is critical in tight environments such as cell phones. The 32-bit AVR32 was on display but no new announcements this time around. Related Links Amulet Technologies Atmel Quantum Research

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