Microcontroller has a built-in memory LCD controller in a single-chip
The latest addition to Epson’s S1C31 series of energy-efficient 32-bit microcontrollers is the S1C31D01. This is the second product in the range and as with the first it has an ARM Cortex-M0+ processor and built-in Flash memory. Epson believes this is the world’s first microcontroller to have a built-in memory LCD controller in a single-chip solution.
Compared with other types of LCD panels, memory LCDs use very little power, so they are increasingly being used in battery-driven wearable products such as smart watches that do not require charging. But historically memory LCDs have had various technical issues that have made it more difficult for developers to use them. As well as controllers, some memory LCDs needed multiple voltage power supplies while others had a parallel data interface for image transfers. So to use them, developers had to obtain external components and develop software.
To address these issues, Epson has used a new memory LCD controller, a power supply IC for the memory LCD that can output two voltages of the developer’s choice, and a 6-bit parallel interface. Because these eliminate the need for external components and interface software development, developers are able to save time and effort while also reducing the size of their products. Wafer-level chip-scale packages have a footprint that is the same size as the footprint of the chip. On ordinary LCDs even still images have to be refreshed. On memory LCDs, however, once an image is drawn on the display, it can be held there without being refreshed. This helps limit power consumption and saves battery life.
The S1C31D01 also integrates peripheral circuits, including, but not limited to, Flash memory, a real-time clock (RTC), a USB controller, and an ADC. Current consumption in RTC mode is 0.9 micro A. Typical, sleep mode, RTCA=ON, 25 degrees C. The company says the combination of S1C31D01 and memory LCD will extend the battery life of wearable products.
Volume production begins in April 2017.
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