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Interview with Michi Yoneda about Cypress’ PSoC 6

Cypress and SparkFun PSoC 6 Wireless Network IoT Dev Platform

I have been excited about the PSoC 6 MCU since Cypress announced it. I was just as excited when I had the opportunity to interview Michi Yoneda, Cypress Staff Product Marketing Engineer, about the PSoC 6 BLE Pioneer Kit. Here are some excerpts from the interview.

JG (Jason Gums): What kind of applications is the PSoC 6 MCU designed for?

MY (Michi Yoneda): PSoC 6 MCUs are purpose-built for the Internet of Things (IoT), enabling IoT applications such as wearables, portable medical, Smart Home, Industrial IoT, and Smart Audio.

JG: What kind of interest is out there for the PSoC 6 MCU?

MY: With industry leading ultra-low power, flexibility, and hardware-based security features, PSoC 6 has created quite the stir. We have many customers asking to evaluate and prototype with this part, because they can deliver longer battery life, a unique and compelling design, and also help protect their customers’ IoT systems against cyberattacks, all with a single chip.

JG: What are the most important special features of the PSoC 6 MCU?

MY: Industry-leading ultra-low power, flexibility, and built-in security are what make PSoC 6 MCUs unique.

The ultra-low power of PSoC 6 MCUs:

  • 150-MHz and 100-MHz dual-core Arm® Cortex®-M4 and Arm Cortex®-M0 ultra-low-power 40-nm architecture
  • Industry-leading ultra-low-power design that consumes as little as 22-μA/MHz in an active power mode
  • A dual-core architecture, where the Cortex®-M0+ can be used as an offload engine for power efficiency, allowing the main Cortex®-M4 core to sleep

    The flexibility of PSoC 6 MCUs:

  • Various analog and digital software-defined peripherals: you can create custom analog front ends to interface with sensors or create custom digital interfaces (such as SDIO) to suit your needs
  • Multiple wired and wireless connectivity options: the architecture offers Bluetooth 5.0, FS USB, WiFi (via UDBs), and we plan to support other connectivity options in future PSoC 6 lineups (such as CAN, HS USB).
  • Industry-leading CapSense: with our 4thgeneration capacitive-sensing technology, CapSense, you can create sleek, next-generation user interfaces
  • Dual-core Arm Cortex-M: this provides flexibility to choose what tasks you want a core to do, and enables you to optimize your system power consumption and performance.

    The built-in security of PSoC 6 MCUs:

  • Dedicated security co-processor for multiple Trusted Execution Environments (TEEs)
  • Industry-standard cryptographic algorithms such as elliptical-curve cryptography (ECC) and advanced encryption standard (AES)
  • Provides a secure environment for internal storage of firmware, applications, and secure assets (such as cryptographic keys)

JG: What are special considerations for designing with the PSoC 6 MCU?

MY: With PSoC 6 MCUs, we’ve introduced a dual-core Arm Cortex-M architecture. These dual-cores allow for optimizing power and performance. You can use the M0+ as an auxiliary core and use it for low power tasks such as BLE/CapSense or as a security coprocessor, and use the M4 for heavy duty processing, such as RTOS support, running a graphical display, or sensor fusion. Both cores can access all the peripherals and system resources, but the key to designing with PSoC 6 is to intelligently use each core for certain tasks, while balancing out power consumption and performance.

JG: Are there special partnerships with the PSoC 6 MCU to know about?

MY: Yes, the PSoC 6 Wireless Sensor Network IoT Dev Platform. Cypress, SparkFun, and Digi-Key have partnered to deliver this joint platform enabling makers and engineers of all kinds to prototype sensor to cloud solutions easily and quickly.

  • The PSoC 6 BLE Pioneer Kit (CY8CKIT-062-BLE): A Cypress Dev Kit featuring the dual-core PSoC 63 MCU with BLE 5.0 connectivity
  • The SparkFun Pioneer IoT Add-On Shield compatible with any PSoC MCU Pioneer Kit
  • The Arduino-compatible IoT Add-On Shield leverages:
    • SparkFun Qwiic Connect System allowing PSoC MCUs to interface with a wide range of Qwiic Sensors
    • XBee Module interface to support any wireless upload protocol
    • Micro SD Card slot for data logging
    • Breakout of all available PSoC MCU I/O for easy user access
  • A Smart Home Monitoring example project with full source code from sensor to cloud

More information on this IoT Dev Platform is available here.

JG: What is the easiest way to get started with the PSoC 6 MCU?

MY: Visit the DigiKey PSoC 6 BLE Pioneer Kit page (CY8CKIT-062-BLE) and purchase a kit. Then visit the PSoC 6 Product page, www.cypress.com/psoc6 to download datasheets, app notes, and other collateral to get started.

About this author

Jason Gums, Product Manager-Semiconductors at Digi-Key Electronics, has specialized in analog, power, and IoT technologies for the past 6 years. He has over 19 years of experience at Digi-Key, including working in the Application Engineering and Customer Service departments. In his spare time, Jason mentors a youth robotic competitive team and is working toward completing his business degree.
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