Time was, there was at most one sleep mode for a microcontroller and the only thing the micro did in that mode was pay attention to an interrupt. Energy Micro has extended its Gecko series of ARM-based microcontrollers with a device based on the ARM Cortex-M3 that appears to read a sensor and update a monochrome LCD display while remaining in one of its deep-sleep modes (900 nanoamps of current consumption) using something the company calls a “low-energy sensor interface.” The part consumes 160 microamps/MHz in active mode. These EFM32 parts are pretty interesting in the way they illustrate some of the ways any design team can cut power consumption with some innovative thinking. Worth a look.
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