Wearable Tech World Feature Article
September 29, 2014

ARM Cortex M7 Processor Looks to Power the IoT, Wearables, Robots and Smart Appliances

The Internet of Things (IoT) is going to have billions of connected devices, which will include everything from street lights to refrigerators. As more products are introduced into this ecosystem, the new devices will require processors that are designed with a small form factor delivering more functionality and features while at the same time consuming less power. The new ARM Cortex M7 processor is looking to deliver on all those points allowing companies to integrate the chip into feature-rich robots, appliances, wearables, cars, medical devices and networking and storage devices.

The Cortex M7 operates at a clock speed of 400 MHz with digital signal processors and floating point functionality allowing it to be used in applications that require precision control and accuracy, collecting sensor information and providing embedded intelligence. This is the latest and highest performance member of the energy-efficient Cortex-M processor family, which will allow partners to build a variety of MCUs and embedded SoCs.

The design for the new Cortex-M7 will deliver high levels of performance while maintaining the responsiveness and ease-of-use of the ARMv7-M architecture. This performance and flexibility gives organizations across different industries the ability to integrate the new processor in industrial automation, high-end audio, image and voice processing, sensor fusion, advanced motor control and deployment of IoT solutions.

The low-power processor design and extensive clock and power gating means vendors will be able to customize their design to minimize power consumption so it can be integrated in wearable technologies as well as many different IoT applications.

As ARM’s highest-performing Cortex-M processor, the new platform combines a six-stage, superscalar pipeline with flexible system and memory interfaces including AXI, AHB, caches and tightly-coupled memories delivering high integer floating point and DSP performance in an MCU.

Some of the benefits of the ARMv6-M and ARMv7-M architectures are:

  • Ease-of-use that allows most applications to be programmed completely in C or any high level language
  • Scalable architecture supporting ultra-low power sensors to high performance controllers
  • Powerful instruction set to enable high performance systems
  • Bit field processing instructions for I/O control and communication applications
  • SIMD instructions in ARMv7-M architecture for DSP applications
  • IEEE-754 Floating point support in Cortex-M4 and Cortex-M7 Processors
  • 6 stage superscalar pipeline in Cortex-M7 processor for unmatched performance for embedded processors
  • Innovative features such as single cycle I/O interface in the Cortex-M0+ processor, to high bandwidth memory system in the Cortex-M7 processor

“The addition of the Cortex-M7 processor to the Cortex-M series allows ARM and its partners to offer the most scalable and software-compatible solutions possible for the connected world. The versatility and new memory features of the Cortex-M7 enable more powerful, smarter and reliable microcontrollers that can be used across a multitude of embedded applications,” said Noel Hurley, general manager, CPU group, ARM. 

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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