Discover this new episode of "Engineering Insights," hosted by Stuart Cording from Elektor, with guests Scott Hanson and Carlos Morales from Ambiq, a manufacturer of microcontrollers with a strong focus on ultra-low power consumption and AI. In this compelling episode, let’s explore cutting-edge microcontroller technology!

Scott Hanson, the CTO and founder of Ambiq, kicks off the episode. He explains the concept of subthreshold operation in microcontrollers, a pioneering approach where transistors operate below their usual threshold voltage, resulting in drastically reduced power consumption. Stuart probes further, asking about other strategies beyond subthreshold operation that a fabless microcontroller vendor like Ambiq employs to minimize power usage, emphasizing the roles of capacitance and voltage.

Scott also addresses the challenges of integrating thousands of subthreshold transistors into complex devices. He highlights three main obstacles: sensitivity to manufacturing variations, temperature fluctuations, and voltage changes. He discusses how collaboration with TSMC has helped overcome these issues. Stuart's questions focus on the practical advantages of using Ambiq's products for hardware engineers, looking at active and sleep power consumption benefits, and the external hardware considerations necessary when implementing Ambiq's microcontrollers.

Carlos Morales, head of the AI group at Ambiq, then takes the stage to discuss Ambiq's approach to integrating AI into microcontrollers while maintaining long battery life. He sheds light on the unique features of the Apollo 4, Ambiq's latest product family, and how it's tailored to efficiently run AI algorithms.

The episode concludes with a rich discussion involving both guests and Stuart, focusing on the broader challenges faced by the industry, particularly in medical electronics. 

This video is a must-watch for anyone interested in the intersection of microcontroller technology, AI, and energy efficiency! Watch it below:

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