Winners of the 2022 LEAP Awards (Leadership in Engineering Achievement Program) were announced earlier this week in a digital ceremony, with a high number of products across 14 categories. This annual competition aims to celebrates the most innovative and forward-thinking products serving the design engineering space. This year’s winners were chosen by an independent judging panel of 14 engineering and academic professionals.
Gold — Silicon Labs’ BG24 and MG24 families of 2.4 GHz wireless SoCs
In the category of Connectivity, the Gold is awarded to Silicon Labs’ BG24 and MG24 families of 2.4 GHz wireless SoCs, which feature the industry’s first integrated AI/ML accelerators and are designed for Matter, Zigbee, OpenThread, Bluetooth Low Energy, Bluetooth mesh and proprietary and multi-protocol operations. These SoCs incorporate the highest level of security certification, PSA Level 3 Secure Vault, with the best RF performance/energy-efficiency ratio in the market. They are suited for diverse smart home, medical and industrial applications.
The judges commented: “This is quite a forward-looking design.”
The single-die BG24 and MG24 SoCs combine a 78 MHz ARM Cortex- M33 processor, high-performance 2.4 GHz radio, industry-leading 20-bit ADC, an optimized combination of Flash (up to 1536 kB) and RAM (up to 256 kB) and an AI/ML hardware accelerator for processing machine learning algorithms while offloading the ARM Cortex-M33, so applications have more cycles to do other work with large datasets
while meeting low energy usage MLPerf Tiny v0.7 benchmarks.
The SoC families’ new software toolkit is designed to allow developers to quickly build and deploy AI/ML algorithms at the edge using some of the most popular tool suites like TensorFlow Lite. Silicon Labs has partnered with leading AI and ML tools providers, SensiML and Edge Impulse, to ensure that developers have an end-to-end toolchain that simplifies the development of machine learning models optimized for embedded deployments of wireless applications.
Silver — Harting Han-Modular Domino Module and Molex Quad-Row board-to-board connector
Two innovations tied for Silver in this category. The first Silver goes to Harting for its Han-Modular Domino Module. And the other Silver award goes to Molex for its Quad-Row board-to-board connector.
The Han-Modular Domino module offers the next level of modularity in industrial connectors. Modular connectors allow the combination of multiple media types into a single connection point using off-the-shelf modules. This makes building a custom connector fast and easy. The Han-Modular Domino module takes this concept a step further by allowing the customization of modules themselves with smaller, standardized cubes. Two cubes can be combined into one module, allowing for up to 50% size reduction of a connector solution or the ability to add even more functionality into an existing cutout.
Molex’s Quad-Row board-to-board connectors are the world’s smallest board-to-board connectors, making them suited for increasingly smaller and more powerful devices, including smartphones, smartwatches, wearables, game consoles and Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality (AR/VR) devices. The connectors feature the industry’s first staggered-circuit layout for 30% space savings over conventional connector designs. These patent-pending connectors offer product developers and device manufacturers unprecedented freedom and flexibility to support compact form factors, while setting a new standard for space optimization. The Quad-Row Board-to-Board Connectors adhere to the 3.0 A current rating, meeting customer requirements for high power in a compact form factor. Additionally, the product aligns with the standard, soldering pitch of 0.35 mm to expedite volume manufacturing using typical Surface Mount Technology (SMT) processes. Highly reliable performance is assured, thanks to interior armor and insert-molded power nail, which safeguard pins from damage during volume manufacturing and assembly. These capabilities, along with wide alignment, facilitate easy, secure mating and lower fallout rates.
Honorable Mention – LEMO USA M Series High Power,
Finally, an Honorable Mention goes to LEMO USA Inc. for its M Series High Power, which features an innovative new electrical contact design to handle the highest possible power in the smallest possible connector size. Five size options of new crimp gold-plated copper contact sets accommodating large conductor sizes from 8AWG to 1AWG. These contacts integrate Lamellas on the female side to maximize the contact surface area to carry the highest possible current while minimizing heat build-up. This unique proprietary design ensures low contact resistance limiting Joule heating, low mating forces, high mating cycle durability, and touch proof protection meeting user safety needs.