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TI Unveils World's Lowest Power MCU for Portable Medical Devices

Signal-Chain-on-Chip MCU Speeds Design Time, Boosts Performance

Apr 6, 2004

DALLAS (April 6, 2004) - Designers of portable medical applications can now simplify their designs and reduce time to market using the industry´s first single-chip, ultra-low power microcontroller (MCU) for these applications introduced today by Texas Instruments (TI) (NYSE: TXN). The newest addition to the company´s popular MSP430 product line, the MSP430FG43x family is optimized for portable medical devices, helping designers meet application requirements without having to rely on multi-chip solutions. Three precision operational amplifiers make the signal-chain-on-chip (SCoC) MSP430FG43x family ideal for applications such as personal blood pressure monitors and pulsoxy, pH and glucose meters. (See www.ti.com/sc04084 for more information.)

"Designers of portable medical devices who are challenged to deliver cost-sensitive ultra-low-power solutions to the market quickly can now shorten design cycle time with the MSP430FG43x, which is optimized for this market segment," said Mark Buccini, MSP430 director of marketing, TI. "This Flash-based family's programmable, high-performance signal-chain-on-chip makes expensive and risky custom analog front-end solutions a thing of the past and enables designers to begin real-world in-system development immediately."

Signal-Chain-on-Chip Features Precision Op Amps, DMA

The MSP430FG43x family offers MCU configurations with nine timer channels, a 200ksps high performance 12-bit analog to digital converter, dual 12-bit digital to analog converters, three configurable precision operational amplifiers, one universal synchronous/asynchronous communication interface (USART), 48 I/O pins, a 128-segment liquid crystal display driver, with memory configurations of up to 60KB of Flash and 2KB of RAM. To ensure the robustness of an application, a zero-power brown-out reset function, supply voltage supervisor and fail-safe clock system are provided. An integrated direct memory access (DMA) controller increases the signal processing capabilities of the MSP430FG43x family by an order of magnitude when compared to competitive MCUs. 

The expanded DMA, with triggers from all peripherals, accelerates mixed-signal processing by providing sophisticated data transfer without CPU interaction. DMA transfer triggers can be completely transparent to the CPU, allowing precise transfer control timing between memory and internal and external peripherals without CPU intervention. The DMA eliminates data transfer delays and overhead, freeing the 16-bit RISC CPU to focus on differentiated digital signal processing, instead of performing data handling tasks.

Ultra-Low-Power Performance

A flexible clock system with five low-power modes enables unmatched ultra-low-power performance. The MSP430FG43x family features a typical standby current consumption as low as 1.1uA with a real-time-clock function active. Engineers can tune system clocking to meet the precise power requirements of the application. An integrated digitally controlled oscillator is used to clock the system at current consumption as low as 280uA per MIPS. Fast instruction execution, coupled with the MSP430´s ability to start up from standby in less than six microseconds with a fully synchronized high-speed system clock, results in total power consumption 10 times lower than competitive devices.

Development Support

The MSP430FG43x devices are fully compatible with the MSP-FET430P430 toolkit, which includes a JTAG interface, target board, Flash devices and a complete integrated development environment including a debugger, assembler/linker and limited C-compiler. The tool supports real-time in-system development, accessing the Flash device´s embedded emulation including programming, full-speed, breakpoint and trace capabilities. 

Pricing and Availability

The MSP430FG43x family is available now from TI and its authorized distributors in an 80-pin QFP package, priced as follows:

More information about TI´s MSP430 family of MCUs is available on the World Wide Web at