Friday, January 2, 2015

Internet of Things - System Components

The IoT System

The IoT concept  generally refers to applications working on the principle of distributed and remote collection of environmental data followed by limited local processing, then making the result available to the bigger processor via some sort of shared access to the Internet for further processing and aggregation.

Applications in different domains include:

• Personal area: Wearable devices provide data for processing in the smartphone or other personal equipment.

• Wide area: Sensors are distributed citywide for applications such as taxi availability. The data collected is used centrally for citywide processing and analysis. Inventory and transport tracking are examples of  wide-area IoT applications.

• Local area: Data is processed for central home computers or office computers. In the case of homes, it is data from home appliances, energy & lighting devices,, and home heating and cooling equipment. In the case of factories and offices various equipment and devices are connected to the central computer.

In all these applications, data is collected locally through various sensors. Some processing and data reduction are also performed, and the resulting information is then transmitted  Data from several sources can be aggregated and further processed in the central computer and the results are provided to the user.

The device that performs these functions (sensing, processing and transmission) on the distributed side can be built around a system-on-chip (SoC) for high-end applications or around a general-purpose MCU IC for low-end applications. Such device will have functions and components: battery/power management, embedded flash (e-flash) memory, user interfaces (I/F) and other I/O devices, the wireless or wired (RF transceiver, TRX) communications interface, and the mission-critical sensor I/F.

Texas Instruments IoT Products


TI’s broad portfolio of microcontrollers allows our customers to innovate and create designs across a wide range of IoT applications, whether high performance or low-power. TI’s Performance MCUs consist of microcontrollers designed for closed-loop control IoT applications requiring real-time performance, connectivity, and safety functionality.  The Low-power MCUs, which integrate a power management system with interrupt handling and SRAM/FRAM for real-time data capture make these devices extremely powerful at ultra-low power levels to preserve battery life in IoT applications. TI Performance and Low-Power MCUs have a scalable platform to support consumer, industrial, and HealthTech IoT applications today.


Sitara processors, with scalable processing abilities, rich 3D graphics, robust peripherals and high-level OS support, can connect to protocols like power line communication, ZigBee, Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Z-wave and Bluetooth Low Energy - ideal for smart appliance applications.

Wireless connectivity

TI offers cloud-ready system solutions designed to access the IoT through the industry’s broadest portfolio of wireless connectivity technologies, including Wi-Fi®, Bluetooth® Smart, ZigBee®, 6LoWPAN, and Sub-1 GHz among others. Whatever your application, TI makes developing easier with the hardware, software, tools and support you need to connect to the IoT.

The SimpleLink Wi-Fi CC3200 Internet-on-a-chip™ solution is a wireless MCU that integrates a high-performance ARM® Cortex®-M4 MCU with on-chip Wi-Fi, Internet and robust security protocols allowing customers to develop an entire application with a single IC.

Sensing Products

Capacitive sensing products
Capacitive sensing with grounded capacitors is a high-resolution, low-cost, contactless sensing technique that can be applied to a variety of applications. The sensor in a capacitive sensing system is any conductor, allowing for a low-cost and highly-flexible system design. The FDC1004 is a 4-channel capacitance-to-digital converter designed for capacitive sensing applications. It features more than 16-bit effective noise-free resolution and provides compensation of up to 100 pF offset capacitance to accommodate the use of remote sensors. The FDC1004 also includes two strong drivers for sensor shields to allow focusing of sensing direction and to reduce EMI interference.

Where this technology is used
The sensor in a capacitive sensing system is any metal or conductor, delivering a low-cost and highly-flexible system design. Capacitive sensing differs from capacitive touch in that it provides a higher resolution to allow for further sensing distance and higher-performance in sensing applications, including proximity, gesture, liquid level, and material properties.

Current sensing products
Current shunt monitors, or current sense amplifiers, are designed to monitor the current flow in a load by measuring the voltage drop across a resistor. They offer a unique input stage topology that allows the common mode voltage to exceed the supply voltage. Integrated precision gain resistors enable very accurate measurements.

Where this technology is used
Current shunt amplifiers enable a lower cost method of current measurement than indirect methods of sensing. TI's broad portfolio of current sense amplifiers enable a wide range of applications including power supply monitoring, motor/valve control, and battery management. They are recommended for currents under 100A and voltages under 100V.

Gas and chemical sensing products
Two common technologies to detect gas are electrochemical cells and NDIR sensors

Electrochemical sensors create a potential and measure the current across a cell that responds to a specific gas type
NDIR (non-dispersive infrared) sensors use infrared light to determine the amount of a specific gas in a container
pH sensing is used to monitor water quality by measuring the concentration of hydrogen ions in a solution.

Hall effect sensors
The Hall effect is a sensing technology that detects the presence and strength of a magnetic field. Hall effect sensors can measure the strength of the magnetic field as an indicator of distance or position without physical contact.

Where this technology is used
Hall effect sensors are commonly used to detect position, speed, or acceleration of an object by sensing the magnetic field generated by the object.

Humidity sensors
Humidity sensors determine the amount of water vapor / moisture in the air. Because relative humidity is a function of temperature, humidity sensors also usually include integrated temperature sensors.

Where this technology is used
This technology is used in many applications, including environmental monitoring in automobiles and buildings, HVAC, warranty monitoring, process control, fog/condensation sensing, and remote weather stations.

Inductive sensing products
Inductive sensing is a contactless sensing technology that can be used to measure the position, motion, or composition of a metal or conductive target as well as detect the compression, extension, or twist of a spring. Immunity to environmental interferers such as oil, water or dirt allows for sensing even in very harsh environments

Where this technology is used
TI’s inductance-to-digital converters (LDCs) enable customers to use their own custom coils as sensors. The LDC can be used to detect changes in Rp (parallel resonance impedance) and L (inductance) of the sensor; the choice of which value is used would depend on the application and system requirements.

Optical sensing products
Optical sensing is the conversion of light rays into electronic signals. Often the intensity of light or changes between one or more light beams is being measured.

Where this technology is used
In its simplest form, sensing light intensity is used for lighting controls in everything from tablets/phones to building automation and street lighting. Optical sensing is used in broad range of applications, and by monitoring additional characteristics (spectrum, phase, geometry, or timing), optical sensing enables advanced applications such as chemical analysis, 3D mapping, medical scanning, and pulse oximetry.

Pressure sensor signal conditioners
Pressure sensor signal conditioners deliver highly-precise and programmable solutions for accurately measuring pressure.

Where this technology is used
Measuring pressure precisely is critical in a number of industrial and commercial applications.

Temperature sensors
Temperature sensors leverage the highly-predictable and linear properties of a silicon PN junction to derive the temperature. Temperature sensors can guarantee high accuracy while requiring zero calibration in the end system. Temperature sensors offer a wide range of integration and multi-channel options to monitor external PN junctions such as diodes, transistors, processors, ASICs, and FPGAs.

Where this technology is used
Temperature sensors are often used as a replacement for thermistors for monitoring and protection, calibration, and control. Temperature sensors can provide greater linearity, lower power, guaranteed accuracy, high programmability, and built-in over-temperature detection and offer a wide range of analog and industry-standard interfaces.

Ultrasonic sensing products
Ultrasonic sensing is the measurement of the time between an ultrasonic signal being sent and received. The interval between the two signals is typically referred to as time of flight (ToF). The speed of an ultrasonic wave is sensitive to the transmission medium (flow speed, temperature & concentration / purity).

Where this technology is used
Distance to target either in gas or fluid
Level of fluid in a tank
Flow speed of a gas or liquid
Temperature and concentration of a liquid or a gas

Power management

TI provides the broadest portfolio of innovative power management integrated circuits and easy-to-use design resources that allow designers to quickly develop Internet-ready applications that connect to the cloud and connect with each other.

Analog signal chain

In IoT, translating sensory inputs into information the system can act on requires precise, low-power, flexible analog signal processing. With TI’s comprehensive signal chain portfolio and integrated analog front ends, designers can optimize their systems for both power and performance.

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