Dialog Semiconductor uses low power flash memory to increase hearable lifetimes

Reducing the footprint of a hearable device, such as an ear bud, by using smaller batteries can come at the cost of shorter runtimes between recharges, advises Dialog Semiconductor. Hearable devices frequently read data to support advanced functionality such as connectivity, auto-pairing, charge cradle data exchange and equalisation. Dialog Semiconductor has developed the AT25SL128A Flash to minimise power consumption. It features low power, 1.8 V operation, fast read, low profile wafer level chip scale packages (WLCSPs) and is intended for small IoT devices like hearables.

Since 2007,  Dialog (through its acquisition of Adesto) has developed resistive RAM technology and has grown its Conductive Bridging RAM (CBRAM) resistive memory technology from atoms to circuits to products.

CBRAM provides power, speed, and cost benefits over other non-volatile memory technologies, claims Dialog. It is well suited for battery powered devices, edge computing, and artificial intelligence (AI) applications.

Standard, off the-shelf memory products cannot satisfy the requirements of speed and power consumption demanded in modern edge computing and AI applications which make up the IoT, explains Dialog.

Resistive RAM, in particular Dialog’s CBRAM, offers significant advantages over other non-volatile memory technologies, says the company. Benefits include speed and power, tolerance to harsh environments and performance levels for demanding applications. The memory is particularly suitable for embedded non-volatile memory and memory computing.

A notable advantage of CBRAM is that the write operation in its bit-cells is very fast (less than one micro second) compared to standard flash memory technologies (around one millisecond), and it also does not require a bit to be pre-erased. This makes write operations on CBRAM products 20 times faster than standard flash, while consuming 10 to 100 times less energy, says Dialog.

CBRAM technology is a non-volatile ReRAM technology which consumes “significantly” less energy than today’s leading memories, says Dialog, without sacrificing performance or reliability. This discrete NVM technology is claimed to achieve 50 to 100 times lower power in read/write operations compared to competitive solutions.

With CBRAM, designers can extend the battery life of their systems and/or use smaller batteries, or even design systems for battery-free operation through energy harvesting. Since CBRAM can withstand medical sterilisation processes, it’s also ideal for smart medical devices.

CBRAM is created by applying fab-friendly, patented metallisation and dielectric stack layers between standard CMOS interconnect metal layers. The NVM technology is easy to embed into standard logic flows, Dialog adds.

CBRAM technology relies on the electrochemical making and breaking of a conductive link. This process changes the resistance of the CBRAM storage element which is used to represent data. The conductive link is robust and can withstand high thermal stresses.

CBRAM is used in a multitude of applications with demanding environments and conditions. Unlike other non-volatile memory technologies, CBRAM is suitable for harsh environments.


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