SignalCraft Technologies' Blog

What is MIPI I3C and How Does It Work?

Posted by Todd Smiley on 2019-Jan-15 09:35:00

In recent years, the electronics industry has experienced an explosion in the growth of embedded sensors being used in high-volume applications such as smartphones, wearables, automobiles, and the Internet of Things (IoT). This rapid growth is fueled by the development of a wide variety of small-sized, low-cost sensors being married to an ever-expanding array of innovative consumer applications. An excellent example is today’s typical smartphone, which incorporates 10 or more sensors measuring anything from light and biometric responses to motion and environmental conditions.

To address these market needs, the MIPI I3C standard version 1.0 was released in December 2017 specifically to address connectivity between sensors and a host processor in mobile, wearable, and IoT applications. Intended as a backwards-compatible superset of the I2C standard, I3C offers significantly enhanced functionality focused on minimal power consumption, increased throughput, and reduced PCB space and product cost.

energy consumption

The primary focus of I3C is to provide sensor connectivity in a highly efficient manner. Therefore, MIPI’s Sensors Working Group – which includes representatives from AMD, Broadcom, Intel, NXP, and Qualcomm – collaboratively developed the I3C specification to include key features such as:

  • Mixed bus topologies
  • Common command codes (CCCs)
  • Dynamic address assignment
  • Broadcast messages
  • Peer-to-peer messages
  • Hot-join mechanism
  • In-band power control messages
  • Error detection and recovery
  • Timing control
  • Multi-master capabilities

Interested in learning more? Read our full white paper An Overview of the MIPI-I3C Serial Interface and Its Impact on New Designs for detailed descriptions of these new features, as well as guidance on how to implement and test your I3C designs.


Topics: Technology

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