Microcontroller-Agnostic Module Form Factor To Enable Smart Sensors

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It addresses fast-growing sensor market by implementing an IIoT architecture with true Plug and Play network integration

PICMG, a consortium for the development of open embedded computing specifications, has announced the ratification of the MicroSAM specification. MicroSAM is a new microcontroller-agnostic, ultra-small form-factor module for the enablement of smart sensors.

MicroSAM is the first PICMG specification in a series of IIoT-related open standards to reach ratification. It is an open hardware specification that addresses the fast-growing sensor market. MicroSAM enables a fundamentally different IIoT architecture, offering a distributed architecture with true Plug and Play network integration. The specification defines a 32mm x 32mm module hardware platform for traditional sensor vendors wishing to quickly create smart sensors.

“When combined with the PICMG sensor domain network architecture and data model, sensors seamlessly integrate into the network with plug-and-play interoperability”, said Doug Sandy, Chief Technical Officer, PICMG.

Providing sensor connectivity

MicroSAM fills the need to have a compact module targeted at microcontrollers for each of the Industrial IoT sensor nodes. The processing performance and I/O connectivity are targeted toward the sensor interface. MicroSAM may exist in parallel with other embedded technologies, where MicroSAM devices provide sensor connectivity and PICMG standards such as COM Express, CompactPCI Serial or MicroTCA provide higher layers of control.

“This specification has the potential to accelerate the shift to better sensor interoperability and encourage a better and wider range of options,” added Jessica Isquith, President of PICMG.

PICMG developed this specification to benefit the industry in three specific ways:
1) Enable sensor vendors to create smart sensors without having to manufacture the control circuitry and/or software by purchasing these components from PICMG-compliant suppliers.
2) Enable controller suppliers who wish to create smart sensors or smart-sensor components to do so in a way that is interoperable with other suppliers.
3) Accelerate the uptake of smart-sensor technology through open-specifications and interoperability.

Technical features

MicroSAM extends and co-exists with the existing open-sourced microcontroller ecosystem by offering a standards-based solution that has been designed specifically for embedded use.  Some of its key technical advantages are:

⦁ Full industrial operating temperature range
⦁ Small size (32mm x 32mm)
⦁ Low power consumption
⦁ Power filtering and signal conditioning for embedded installations
⦁ Reliable industrial-grade communications
⦁ Direct connectivity to a variety of sensor types (analogue and digital voltage and current)
⦁ Latching connectors for secure connectivity
⦁ PWM output for motion control applications

MicroSAM was developed in collaboration with other PICMG members including ADLINK Technology, Avnet Integrated, Intel, Lodz University of Technology, Samtec and TE Connectivity among others


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