Free Trials

Download a free trial to find out which Altium software best suits your needs

How to Buy

Contact your local sales office to get started on improving your design environment

Downloads

Download the latest in PCB design and EDA software

  • PCB DESIGN SOFTWARE
  • Altium Designer

    Complete Environment for Schematic + Layout

  • CircuitStudio

    Entry Level, Professional PCB Design Tool

  • CircuitMaker

    Community Based PCB Design Tool

  • NEXUS

    Agile PCB Design For Teams

  • CLOUD PLATFORM
  • Altium 365

    Connecting PCB Design to the Manufacturing Floor

  • COMPONENT MANAGEMENT
  • Altium Concord Pro

    Complete Solution for Library Management

  • Octopart

    Extensive, Easy-to-Use Component Database

  • PRODUCT EXTENSIONS
  • PDN Analyzer

    Natural and Effortless Power Distribution Network Analysis

  • See All Extensions
  • EMBEDDED
  • TASKING

    World-Renowned Technology for Embedded Systems Development

  • TRAININGS
  • Live Courses

    Learn best practices with instructional training available worldwide

  • On-Demand Courses

    Gain comprehensive knowledge without leaving your home or office

  • ONLINE VIEWER
  • Altium 365 Viewer

    View & Share electronic designs in your browser

  • Altium Designer 20

    The most powerful, modern and easy-to-use PCB design tool for professional use

    ALTIUMLIVE

    Annual PCB Design Summit

    • Forum

      Where Altium users and enthusiasts can interact with each other

    • Blog

      Our blog about things that interest us and hopefully you too

    • Ideas

      Submit ideas and vote for new features you want in Altium tools

    • Bug Crunch

      Help make the software better by submitting bugs and voting on what's important

    • Wall

      A stream of events on AltiumLive you follow by participating in or subscribing to

    • Beta Program

      Information about participating in our Beta program and getting early access to Altium tools

    All Resources

    Explore the latest content from blog posts to social media and technical white papers gathered together for your convenience

    Downloads

    Take a look at what download options are available to best suit your needs

    How to Buy

    Contact your local sales office to get started improving your design environment

    • Documentation

      The documentation area is where you can find extensive, versioned information about our software online, for free.

    • Training & Events

      View the schedule and register for training events all around the world and online

    • Design Content

      Browse our vast library of free design content including components, templates and reference designs

    • Webinars

      Attend a live webinar online or get instant access to our on demand series of webinars

    • Support

      Get your questions answered with our variety of direct support and self-service options

    • Technical Papers

      Stay up to date with the latest technology and industry trends with our complete collection of technical white papers.

    • Video Library

      Quick and to-the-point video tutorials to get you started with Altium Designer

    IoT Storage Technologies: Ultra Low Power CBRAM

    August 24, 2017

    Computer hard drive

    Do you remember using those old floppy disks back in the day? I remember my computer had two floppy disk drives. You’d put the disk with your program in one and a disk for the data in the other. Eventually, the incredible invention that is the hard drive came about and storage space exploded. Our memory capacity is still increasing, but now size is becoming less of a factor. When it comes to the Internet of Things (IoT) energy usage is the next big thing. People are envisioning everything from smart appliances to smart cities, and in order for those things to work we’re going to need very low power memory. That’s where ultra low power CBRAM (conductive bridging random access memory) comes in. Adesto is the primary company pushing this technology, which may be able to operate at 1/100th of the power of other storage technologies.

    Floppy disks and floppy drive
    Thank goodness these are no longer necessary.

    Low Power Requirements

    I just said storage size doesn’t matter, but I lied. As devices shrink they need physically smaller memory that can operate on tiny batteries. Wearables, in particular, are driving this trend towards petite form factors and efficient energy usage. In addition to miniature machines wide area IoT sensor networks also require low power solutions.

    Not only has memory increased, so has computing power. They say our smart phones today are millions of times more powerful than the computers NASA used on their trip to the moon. Wearable electronics aren’t quite there yet, but they’re headed that way. Not only are they becoming more powerful, but smart watches are also starting to integrate sensing and already have advanced user interfaces (UI) and support applications. Processors, sensors, and apps all need energy efficient memory to run. Otherwise, you’ll have to take off your watch to charge it multiple times per day, and no one wants that.

    Another area that really requires low power are the devices used in low power wide area networks (LPWANs). People have been envisioning a “smart city” for ages. One where cars can park themselves, infrastructure is efficiently monitored and maintained, and data is mined for the public good. What do all of these systems have in ? They all use hundreds or thousands of sensors spread over large areas, thus the need for LPWANs. Low power is part of the LPWAN acronym, so obviously it’s important. If you’re monitoring city water system with thousands of sensors underground you probably don’t want to replace the batteries every 3 months. That’s why you need low power memory solutions for these sensors as well as low power networks. All of these sensors will need memory in order to farm data and send it off to wherever it goes.

    ADAS car parking into stall
    Using CBRAM will be like jumping from the floppy disk to the hard drive.

    CBRAM for the IoT

    Just like how Seagate revolutionized the memory industry with its small form factor hard drive, Adesto is working on the next step for low power memory. They have developed a type of CBRAM that can use significantly less energy than current low power technologies. In fact, this memory is so low power, in some cases it doesn’t even need to use batteries.

    CBRAM is a new kind of non-volatile memory that belongs in the category of “resistive RAM.” That non-volatile part is quite important, as it means that CBRAM, like flash memory, can store data even when not connected to electricity. This feature will allow CBRAM to power down into a deep sleep state where it won’t consume power when not being used. When operating, Adesto’s CBRAM will be able to read and write using 1/100th of the energy of comparative solutions like flash. Those are the kinds of numbers that the IoT has been waiting for. With power requirements that low, some circuits won’t even need batteries.

    Batteries are the bane of large sensor networks. You know if your device has a battery and isn’t connected to a charging system, it will eventually die. That’s why people are now making chips that can harvest energy while in operation and either charge batteries or eliminate them altogether. Adesto’s CBRAM is so low power, that it can theoretically operate powered solely by these kinds of harvesting chips. Imagine never having to go down into a sewer system to change a sensor battery again. Ok, maybe that’s a stretch, imagine never having to charge your smart fork or sock sensor again. CBRAM can take us there.

    The Internet of Things is an exciting industry, but it still faces challenges. Along with figuring out how to give devices sense, the IoT also needs low power circuits. Energy efficient boards need electrically economical memory solutions. CBRAM is one potential technology that could meet the IoT’s storage power requirements.

    I know you’re excited to get out there and start designing with this new memory component. If you’re thinking you may need some cutting edge software to go with this next gen technology, try CircuitStudio® . It has a wide range of advanced features that will reduce the energy required to complete your work.

    Have more questions about storage for the IoT? Call an expert at Altium.

    most recent articles

    Back to Home