Freescale KL02 MCU - smallest MCU as of 3/4/2013 (via Freescale & Business Wire)


The miniaturization of computer processors continues to push the physical boundaries of what technology is capable of with the increasing presence of rapidly dwindling chip sizes. The phenomena leaves many questioning how much smaller can these devices possibly get? How tiny will these processors become? Smaller still, according to Freescale’s recent announcement. Freescale, a global leader for embedded processing solutions, has further advanced computer miniaturization with the introduction of its Kinetis KL02 - the world’s smallest ARM-Powered microcontroller. An impressive 25% reduction in size from the world’s previous record holder, the ARM MCU, this new processing chip expects to be in high demand for various mobile applications - including the unique new approach to worldly data collection known as The Internet of Things.


The Internet of Things is an innovative concept that intends to transform the way we collect information from ‘things’ in our environment by equipping most, if not all, objects in the world with incredibly small identifying devices. Do not be alarmed - this is not an evil ploy to track people’s actions and whereabouts at all times - but rather, it is a way of collecting data directly from ‘things’ out in the world and into a computer-operated system for analysis without the need of a human “middle-man”. Kevin Ashton, who coined the term ‘Internet of Things’, believes that by doing so, we would be able to effectively keep track of our things and our immediate necessities all in an effort to reduce waste, costs, and losses. Miniscule microcontrollers, such as the Kinetis KL02, will greatly improve the progress of the Internet of Things movement.



Freescale KL02 MCU, for size comparison (via Freescale)


The Kinetis KL02 MCU measures only 1.9 mm x 2.0 mm and includes a 48 MHz ARM Cortex M0+ core that operates between 1.71-3.6 V giving it a wide range of functionality with minimal power consumption. The wafer-level chip scale package is also equipped with a multitude of on board integrated features such as a high-speed 12-bit analog to digital converter, high-speed analog comparator, powerful timers, and a low-power UART. Overall, the device has advanced characteristics sticks to Freescale Semiconductor’s basic goal of providing the world with solutions for an increasingly connected safer, greener, and healthier world.


When asked about the Internet of Things movement, Richard York, director of Embedded Processor Products at ARM, had this to say:


“The Internet of Things will soon be a vast and diverse ecosystem of smart connected devices and screens that embed intelligence into many new areas of our lives. This could range from tiny sensors helping to monitor crops and deliver irrigation, to microcontrollers that enable entire buildings to be more energy efficient. Our mobile devices could be soon controlling and managing this data and making our lives easier to manage. The Kinetis KL02 CSP MCU brings the best ARM and Freescale technologies to applications at the very edge of the IoT and opens up exciting possibilities for a new tier of ultra-small, smart, power-efficient devices.”


The Kinetis KL02 is now slated for manufacturing tests in March and plans to hit the global market by July 2013 at the latest. It will be exciting to see the role these perpetually shrinking, smart devices will have on the Internet of Things system. Soon, the world will let us know exactly what it needs without our interference and wasteful, inefficient processes will be a thing of the past.