Chip manufacturers continue to reduce the size of processors with each new generation. And in doing so, the applications for their use continue to expand. This week, Freescale Semiconductor has introduced the world’s smallest ARM-powered microcontroller (MCU) in a bid to continue that expansion. It’s so small, it can be used in devices designed to be swallowed and is currently 25 percent smaller than any other ARM MCU on the market.
The Kinetis KL02 is a tiny MCU as can be seen from the image of it laying on a keyboard key above. It measures just 1.9 x 2.0mm, and yet it includes a 32-bit ARM Cortex-M0+ core running at 48MHz, has 32KB of flash memory on board, and 4KB of RAM. It’s also happy operating in temperatures ranging from -40 to 85 degrees Celsius.
Freescale developed the Kinetis KL02 in order to support the Internet of Things – the growing number of small and low-powered devices that are connected to the Internet. By developing an ARM chip this small, Freescale hopes manufacturers can design their devices around it and make them much smaller, too. Expected uses include portable consumer devices, remote sensors, devices we wear (e.g. integrated into clothing), and integration with medical products which are small enough to be swallowed or implanted.
The Kinetis KL02 is expected to be available from July with each MCU costing around $0.75 if bought in 100,000+ quantities. Freescale will also be supporting the KL02 with its Freedom development platform available from next month in preparation for the July launch.
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