‘Smart’ components are becoming prevalent in many embedded systems. In a large factory setting sensor nodes could be used to gather, store and process data related to flow of liquid through pipes or vibration on a motor to identify problems. If all of this data was transmitted to a central hub, it would consume an abundance of energy, when only critical information is really needed by the hub that is in charge of monitoring the entire system. Therefore, logging data and then processing that data to make intelligent decisions about the state of a specific piece of the system can be done on the sensor node itself.
With FRAM, systems that require data logging can become smarter by collecting data more quickly and for a longer period of time than on traditional microcontrollers. This is due to the extremely fast write speeds (nearly 100x the speed of writing to Flash) and write endurance of 1015, that this memory technology enables. To a system this means more data can be collected and processed per node, which can minimize errors in decision making.
The FRAM family within the MSP430 microcontroller portfolio provides a scalable platform for developers to use across these factory nodes. Code compatible MCU options are available between 4 KB to 128 KB of FRAM to deal with the data requirements of many nodes. By leveraging the same family of microcontrollers, coding can be minimized across development of new nodes and cost can be optimized based on the amount of data that is required. This goes a step further when you consider the analog integration options across the family. The MSP430FR2033 MCU is an example from the family that offers an integrated 10-channel ADC with 10-bit resolution for connecting directly to analog sensors, but an ADC with more channels and up to 12-bit resolution is available on the new MSP430FR6972 and other devices in the series. Not only that, these ADCs can run smarter without CPU intervention, to minimize power consumption of the nodes.