The ST Technology Tour 2023, which recently took place in Toronto, Canada, showcased new sensors, like the STHS34PF80, the latest microprocessors with the first public appearance of the STM32MP13 in this region, and more. Put simply, it provided a comprehensive overview of the innovations shaping embedded systems. And while machine learning was highly visible, we purposefully avoided overemphasizing the latest buzzwords. To paraphrase the local legend Wayne Gretzky, the ST Technology Tour 2023 in Toronto was about offering a clear picture of “where the puck is going.” For those who missed the event, we will hold two other Technology Tours in North America this year.
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What ST Brought to the Technology Tour 2023 in Toronto
For its first Technology Tour in Toronto since 2019, ST focused on three domains: automotive, industrial IoT, and technology innovations. Each had a series of presentations that covered products and new solutions to current technical and market challenges. Attendees also got a chance to personally talk with the presenters to go further and leave with practical applications. There were also two hands-on sessions. One was on NanoEdge AI in the context of predictive maintenance. The other was on the STM32C0 and the transition from 8-bit to 32-bit microcontrollers.
STHS34PF80: ST’s First TMOS
One popular presentation at the Technology Tour 2023 took attendees on a tour of ST’s first Thermal Metal Oxide Semiconductor (TMOS), an infrared sensor using a wavelength between 5 µm and 20 µm. In a nutshell, it detects thermal radiation from humans or objects. An integrated thermometer helps capture relative changes and avoid erroneous readings if an object is near a heat source, such as a radiator, for instance. The device also includes an ASIC with user-accessible filters to program thresholds and show interrupts. To show the effectiveness of the STHS34PF80, a demo application would turn LEDs on when it detected someone approaching.
The presentation and the demo also centered on the new TMOS in relation to ST’s existing Time-of-Flight sensors. Devices like the VL53L7CX and VL53L8CX offer range detection and multiple zones but demand much more power. The STHS34PF80 provides a new solution to engineers needing presence detection and the utmost energy efficiency. The keynote on the topic also showed how designers could use both in various settings, from industrial applications to consumer products, appliances, and more. The presenters also highlighted that the STHS34PF80 doesn’t need a lens to function but can still significantly increase its range from 6 to 15 meters when using one.
End-to-End IoT Solution
Given the breadth of the event and the desire to offer a comprehensive tour of our technologies, it’s impossible to list all the demos that made their way to Toronto in a single blog post. So while we encourage our community in North America to attend one of the upcoming ST Technology Tour 2023 to see them in person, we’ll mention one more demo that caught people’s attention because it demonstrated a unique collaboration between ST and Klika Tech, a member of the ST Partner Program.
The application showcased an ISM330DHCX inertial sensor on a 3D printer. The device is famous for its finite state machines and machine learning core. However, this demo only uses it for its performance and precision. Two Nucleo boards, one with an STM32WB and one with an STM32WL, receive data from the MEMS. The first microcontroller used its Bluetooth RF to send the data to a DHCON, an STM32MP1 gateway by DH electronics, which is certified AWS IoT Greengrass and runs SageMaker. More specifically, the cloud machine learning platform analyzes vibrations to detect anomalies.
Meanwhile, the STM32WL ran a machine-learning algorithm created by Klika Tech with tinyML. The AI detects the presence of slack in the belt of the 3D printer, which represents an anomaly, and sends the information to the gateway using a LoRa connection. The gateway then transmits the data from the machine learning application running on the STM32WL to the cloud. Consequently, the demo showed how an industrial application could detect multiple issues on equipment, run various types of machine learning algorithms at the edge, and how ST devices and solutions from ST Authorized Partners can come together at the Technology Tour 2023 to create a true end-to-end solution from capture to the cloud.
What Members of the ST Partner Program Brought to the Technology Tour 2023 in Toronto
The Technology Tour 2023 in Toronto was an excellent opportunity to meet with members of the ST Partner Program. Some, like Klika Tech, helped put on demos we featured on our stands. Others had a booth at the event. And partners, like NeuronicWorks, enjoyed that their offices are just a few miles from the Technology Tour. Indeed, touring in North America allows our community to network, but it also allows our partners to participate at minimal cost compared to big trade shows. For a company like NeuronicWorks, the Technology Tour 2023 provided a chance to meet other members of the Partner Program, engineers with new challenges, and potential customers.
The ST Blog thus caught up with NeuronicWorks. We interviewed them last year and learned more about designing reliable, recyclable, and energy-efficient products. Today, the company expanded its operations to include inventory management. The Authorized ST Partner provides design services but also supports in-house PCB assembly and Box Build services, among other things. However, the company saw how customers struggled during the massive shortages caused by the global shutdowns a few years ago. Consequently, NeuronicWorks used its capabilities to manage inventories for customers and even store parts themselves to hasten developments. As they explained, this new initiative helps them bring more value to the Partner Program by meeting new customer demands.
Another member of the ST Partner Program that came to the Technology Tour 2023 in Toronto was Crank. In 2021, we showcased Crank Storyboard to show it was possible to port a UI from a microcontroller to a microprocessor and vice versa. At the event, Crank was now showing a UI running on the STM32U5, among others. Attendees thus saw smooth animations and rich graphics running on one of our latest low-power MCU. The engineer who had worked on the interfaces running at the show was even present to answer questions. Consequently, Crank shared its expertise and helped attendees understand how to think about UIs.
There were many more members of the ST Partner Program at the Technology Tour 2023, and it is impossible to list them all and their contributions. We’ll end by mentioning one attractive demo from Avnet, the IoTConnect. The program ran on the STM32U5 Discovery kit for IoT node, which was connected to a PC for Internet connectivity, and sent data from the sensors on the board to an Avnet cloud on AWS. Even more impressive was the fact that the system took advantage of the STM32U5’s TrustZone feature. The goal was to show how Avnet leveraged the ST ecosystem to implement a solution that gathered and shared data to optimize operations.
Avnet provides the demo application and its source code on GitHub with a step-by-step guide. The ST Authorized Partner even offers a two-month free trial period, which includes 30,000 messages and supports up to five devices and five users. The project relies on X-CUBE-AZURE, and Avnet provides sample projects for STM32CubeIDE to help developers import the source code more easily. The company even offers an IoTConnect Template Setup to help get started with the cloud part of the system. Beyond the demo, Avnet provides a way for developers to learn from their implementation and jump-start their product development.