What are the new trends in the Microcontroller industry, Arduino and PIC Microcontroller? - Educational Engineering

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Saturday, July 21, 2018

What are the new trends in the Microcontroller industry, Arduino and PIC Microcontroller?

Some of the more interesting developments have been in the very low-end 8-bit microcontrollers.
Take the PIC10F322 from Microchip for example. It comes in either a 6-pin SOT-23 or 8-pin DIP or DFN package and has only 512 14-bit words (896 bytes) of flash and 64 bytes of RAM.
But look at the unique set of peripherals (in addition to the usual timers, ADC, PWM, GPIO, and WDT):
Configurable Logic Cell (CLC):
  • 8 selectable input source signals
  • Two inputs per module
  • Software selectable logic functions including:
  • AND/OR/XOR/D Flop/D Latch/SR/JK
  • External or internal inputs/outputs
  • Operation while in Sleep
So in many cases, you can avoid adding additional logic chips to a small system.
Numerically Controlled Oscillator (NCO):
  • 20-bit accumulator
  • 16-bit increment
  • Linear frequency control
  • High-speed clock input
  • Selectable Output modes
  • Fixed Duty Cycle (FDC)
  • Pulse Frequency (PF) mode
Complementary Waveform Generator (CWG):
  • Selectable falling and rising edge dead-band control
  • Polarity control
  • Two auto-shutdown sources
  • Multiple input sources: PWM, CLC, NCO
Pretty fancy for a part that costs under 50¢ in large quantities. I work mostly with 32-bit PIC processors, but I consider this processor quite a gem.
While other trends that have been true for decades. Higher levels of integration, especially with new kinds of IO like RF (ESP-12/32, for example), more memory of various types, faster clocks, lower cost, lower power, smaller packages. I wouldn’t expect those trends to change much over the coming years or tens of years.

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