Tag Archives: SiLabs

Mastering the SiLabs C8051 Microcontroller

In a world where upgrades and advancements are constant, it is easy to overlook older technology in favour of newer, more advanced options. However, the case of 8051 microcontrollers defies this trend. Despite being considered relics of the past, there is still a significant demand for these microcontrollers. Manufacturers have revitalized the proven 8051 architecture by incorporating modern features such as ADCs and communication modules, transforming them into powerful, reliable and versatile devices.

Silicon Laboratories (SiLabs) is an American semiconductor-manufacturing company, similar to Microchip and STMicroelectronics. They are renowned for producing a wide range of semiconductor components, including both 8 and 32-bit microcontrollers. Notably, SiLabs is highly regarded for its RF chips and USB-Serial converters such as CP2102.

In terms of their 8-bit MCU product line-up, SiLabs offers microcontrollers based on the well-established 8051 architecture. However, their MCUs go beyond being simple, traditional 8051 devices. Like other manufacturers like Nuvoton and STC, SiLabs enhances their MCUs with additional modern hardware components such as DACs and communication peripherals.

SiLabs C8051 microcontrollers are recognized for their good performance, reliability, and scalability. They cater to the evolving needs of the embedded systems industry, whether it’s in the realm of consumer electronics, industrial automation, or smart home applications. These microcontrollers serve as a solid foundation for various projects, providing developers with a dependable and flexible platform.

Active IR gesture sensing

From Silicon Labs’ application note on IR Gesture Sensing:

Touchless user interfaces are an emerging trend in embedded electronics as product designers seek out innovative control methods and more intuitive ways for users to interact with electronics. Active infrared proximity motion sensing can solve this challenge. Silicon Labs Si114x proximity and ambient light sensor products are ideally suited to touchless gesturing applications such as page turning on an e-reader, scrolling on a tablet PC, or GUI navigation. The Si114x features up to three LED drivers and has the ability to sense gestures within a 7 to 15 cm product interaction region, assuming a hand as the detectable object. This document will discuss in detail how Silicon Labs implements motion sensing using infrared technology. There are two primary methods used for gesture sensing – position-based and phase-based. Position-based gesture sensing involves finding gestures based on the calculated location of an object while phase-based gesture sensing is based on the timing of the changes in signal to determine the direction of an object’s motion.

This application note focuses on detecting gestures made by a user’s hand. It is important to recognize that the concepts introduced in this application note can be applied to targets other than the hand, as long as the hardware is designed appropriately. The end application and individual system constraints will each dictate the range requirements for IR gesture sensing. Since object reflectance is the main measurable component for touchless gesturing, a hand is presumed to be the detectable object for the examples in this document. Whereas a hand can achieve gesture sensing up to 15 cm away from the Si114x sensor, a finger, with dramatically lower reflectance, can achieve gesture sensing at a range of < 1 cm for thumb-scroll type applications.

IR gesture sensing

IR gesture sensing