A short while ago, I got a question about which micro controllers and signal processors I support. By “support” it was meant which technologies do I really know inside-out and for which I can both supply code and do hardware designs.

So here comes a short summary of technologies that are a naturally part of my DNA (in alphabetical order):

Belasigna | Low power audio signal processors | ON Semiconductors
Specifically targeting low power audio processing, which I would personally extend to low power general sensor processing, my heart beats an extra stroke for the Belasigna processors from ON Semiconductors. These are crazily power saving yet highly performing multi-core devices specialized on one thing: minimizing microwatts per instruction. These devices are found in hearing aids, head sets, and about any application requiring looooong battery time yet capable of processing signals – in real time.

Blackfin | Fixed-point Signal Processors | Analog Devices
A sweet compromise between dramatic processing performance and power is provided by the Blackfin processors from Analog Devices. This is a scalable technology which I recommend when power is a consern but processing performance cannot be negotiated. Due to its fixed-point processing (computations only with integer numerics), it requires a tard more effort to not loose precision during computations. But hey, don’t worry, that’s what experts are for! =)

CSR8xxx / QCCxxxx | Bluetooth Audio and BLE | Qualcomm
For Bluetooth applications, I rely upon the CSR and QCC chips from Qualcomm (previously Cambride Silicon Radio). These are highly integrated chips with a bundle of on-chip peripherals, making wearable bluetooth connectivity possible. So, if you need a bluetooth application with streaming audio, and algorithms to process signals, these are the chips I’d prefer.

MSP430 | Micro controllers | Texas Instruments
Since ages, I am relying upon the Texas Instrument’s MSP430-micro controller series as a working horse in my designs. The MSP430 is a versatile processor suitable for many applications and with an outrageously low power consumption (per instruction).

nRF5xxxx | Bluetooth Low Energy | Nordic Semiconductors
Bluetooth low energy (and other radio formats) are supported by the nRF-processors from Nordic Semiconductors. With many peripherals onchip, it is easy to build BLE-based applications and devices. If you target these processors, I may recommend the uBLOX modules that are pre-certified, which saves you at least one regulative step during product release.

Sharc | Floating-point Signal Processors | Analog Devices
When it comes to brutal signal processing applications not really on a power-diet peaking computations per second or more, I tend towards the Sharc processors. With these technologies, it is possible to perform real time signal processing of many sensor channels at once.

Treating signals like a real sharc: Bite it – chew it – swallow it…

STM32 | Micro controllers / Mixed signal processing | ST Microelectronics
I am noticing a steadily increasing number of requests for the STM32 family. This is understandable due to their outstanding price-performance ratio, an immense range of on-chip peripherals and also the possibility for mixed signal processing implementations. Let you become surprised from these small devices, ranging from the tiny WLCSP package up to monstrous BGAs packages.

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