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Smart Life: The Intelligence of Electronics Improving Our Lives, Part 4

Smart electronics systems play a role in our everyday life that is progressively getting more important. Nowadays smart systems are becoming a part of our life, making it possible to realize functions that can effectively reduce our level of stress by performing automatically some actions that commonly we have to perform in our daily routine: the final result will be the improvement of our life. In the Smart Life: The Intelligence of Electronics Improving Our Lives, Part 1, Smart Life: The Intelligence of Electronics Improving Our Lives, Part 2 and Smart Life: The Intelligence of Electronics Improving Our lives, Part 3 of this blog series I described the first three points of the list below:

  • SMART SENSING
  • SMART LIGHTING
  • SMART MOTOR CONTROL
  • SMART BRAIN
  • SMART POWER

Let’s deal now some examples of new electronic products that have been presented by the STMicroelectronics Company at the i-Sedex 2014 edition in Seoul, Korea, that can be classified as a part of the smart brain sector.

SMART BRAIN

The smart brain is a technology whose basic idea is the presence of an integrated smart brain as the core of the system, like one of the ICs belonging to the STM32 microcontroller family that processes and communicates the data (see Figure1), coming from integrated sensors and which is able to take actions based of the sensors’ feedback signals:

The Smart Brain zone will highlight ST’s newest and most powerful STM32 microcontroller series, STM32 F7, including a benchmark demonstration showing the performance between the STM32 F4 and F7 devices. A dedicated section at the booth will showcase easy code generation using the STM32 CubeMX software platform, introduced earlier this year, that makes designing with STM32 microcontrollers easier, faster, and more accessible. Visitors can also play Anki Drive racing game, in which miniature cars powered by the STM32F0 microcontrollers efficiently process the data transmitted on the track and respond in real time. (Source: STMicroelectronics web press)

Figure 1

A part of the I2C protocol to program the register of an integrated microcontroller (source: Programming Manual PM0222 ST web)

A part of the I2C protocol to program the register of an integrated microcontroller (source: Programming Manual PM0222 ST web)

The Anki Drive racing game is an interesting example of the potential of the smart brain technology as reported in the interesting video related to the presentation of STMicroelectronics at the Embedded World Show in 2014 (see Figure.2)

Figure 2

The 'Anki/artificial intelligence powered by STM32F0' (source:  ST web videos)

The “Anki/artificial intelligence powered by STM32F0” (source: ST web videos)

Another huge example of the smart brain approach is the TrueNorth chip series created by the IBM Company to imitate a human brain by means of a chip board (see Figure 3)

Figure 3

TrueNorth chips can be seamlessly tiled to create vast, scalable neuromorphic systems. In fact, we have already built systems with 16 million neurons and 4 billion synapses. Our sights are now set high on the ambitious goal of integrating 4,096 chips in a single rack with 4 billion neurons and 1 trillion synapses while consuming ~4kW of power. (source: IBM research)

TrueNorth chips can be seamlessly tiled to create vast, scalable neuromorphic systems. In fact, we have already built systems with 16 million neurons and 4 billion synapses. Our sights are now set high on the ambitious goal of integrating 4,096 chips in a single rack with 4 billion neurons and 1 trillion synapses while consuming ~4kW of power . (source: IBM research)

In the next part of this blog series I describe the application of the smart brain approach to some innovative projects that have been presented at the Saie Smart City Exhibition 2014.

What is your experience with microcontrollers as the brain of a smart system on chip? Have you ever used a microcontroller to add intelligence to your projects?

4 comments on “Smart Life: The Intelligence of Electronics Improving Our Lives, Part 4

  1. etnapowers
    February 20, 2015

    The ANKI drive game is very impressive to me because it is a demonstration of an effective and easy to integrate a remote control mode into a commonly utilized object like a smartphone, this solution open new ways for many possible applications. 

  2. etnapowers
    February 23, 2015

    The ANKI drive game demonstrates the potential of the integrated electronics in elaborating real time data by mean of a remote control. This feature matches the new auto parking control systems of  ultimate generation cars and more in general the self drive concept.

  3. etnapowers
    February 23, 2015

    The TrueNorth chips is really a brilliant solution in the direction of a complex intelligent integrated system that can easily implement complex functionalities by mean of a modular approach. It is the basic idea of the block design of the integrated electronics that is applied to a very promising chip.

  4. etnapowers
    February 23, 2015

    “Our sights are now set high on the ambitious goal of integrating 4,096 chips in a single rack with 4 billion neurons and 1 trillion synapses while consuming ~4kW of power.”

    It is a really ambitious goal. Keeping low the power consumption at so high level of integration will be an hard stuff, but I think that it will be achieved.

     

     

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