CES: Atmel’s micro-power wearable platform

Atmel has announced a reference design for wearable systems at CES, including its SAM L21 MCU and  BTLC1000 Bluetooth Low Energy chips.

CES: Atmel's micro-power wearable platform - BLE1000

SAM L21 is based on an ARM Cortex-M0+, includes an encryption block, and is currently leading EEMBC’s ULPBench low power benchmark for M0+s with a score of 185. Active consumption is down to 35µA/MHz. or 200nA sleeping. The Bluetooth chip has a second ARM, a Cortex-M0, in a 2.2 x 2.1mm package.

The reference design, intended to be powered from a coin cell, fits into 30 x 40mm and includes capacitive touch, security, a real-time operating system (RTOS) and a couple of Bosch sensor chips: a BHI160 6-axis motion and BME280 environmental (pressure, humidity and temperature).

atmel-ultra-lowend-wearable20board-angled-2It is compatible with Atmel’s Studio 7 integrated development environment and its Start web-based software configuration and code generation tool.

Intended markets include healthcare, fitness and wellness, according to product marketing director Andreas Eieland.

“As a leading provider of ultra-low power IoT solutions, we know that out-of-the-box, easy to implement reference platforms are a necessity to help accelerate the adoption of wearable applications, and enable a rapid time-to-market for new product ideas,” he said.

“Atmel’s new reference platform allows our customers to develop differentiated solutions for cost-optimized, yet competitive, markets including healthcare, fitness, wellness and much more. We continue to help drive the IoT and wearable market with simple, ultra-low power platforms with complete hardware and software solutions.”

At CES: South Hall 2, Booth MP25760.

See also: Dialog buying Atmel

See also: Wearable sensors measure both feet when jogging

See also: Wearable tech will revolutionise healthcare, says Imperial

Read more Atmel stories on Electronics Weekly »



  1. Hi Bob
    Ambiq does have some amazing figures. I am hoping it has finally cracked yield issues that everyone else has been dogged with when trying to go sub-threshold.

    Sometimes great specs are not sufficient, and offering a complete design package wins the design-in.

    BTW, does your comment mean we should be expecting a Bluetooth MPU from Ambiq…? 🙂

    • Hi Steve, I’m not sure exactly what will be forthcoming from Ambiq but we will keep you informed. As you noted in your article on October 29th, the Misfit wearable design win for Apollo MCUs was a significant endorsement of what’s now possible with sub-threshold technologies. In the meantime, the Ambiq MCU evaluation kit offers Dialog’s DA14581 Bluetooth LE SOC, which is based on an M0 core, for wireless connectivity. It would be interesting to work out how that combination compares with Atmel’s offering for wearables in terms of functionality vs. power consumption. An idea for an article perhaps?

  2. Why use two M0-based MCUs when you can use a more flexible M4-based device with lower power consumption? The Ambiq Micro MCU has a ULP-Mark of 377.50 and lower standby consumption – a benchmark that Atmel supports: http://www.eembc.org/ulpbench/

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