The MIPI I3C Working Group, formerly the Sensor Working Group, was formed in 2013. Three years later, the group, with participation by vendors from across the sensor and mobile ecosystems, released the new MIPI Specification for Improved Integrated Interface, or MIPI I3C®, which defines an improved standardized integrated interface for sensor technology.
In October 2019, the group's new name and updated charter were approved to better reflect the group's focus on ensuring a relevant feature set and scope for the MIPI I3C specification, along with facilitating ecosystem interoperability and adoption through the development of I3C resources and workshops, support for other MIPI working groups and new initiatives, and liaisons with standards organizations for use cases beyond sensors and in industries beyond mobile.
The group works with stakeholders from across the mobile device and sensor ecosystems to make sure it covers the needs of the broadest possible market. It aims to define interface solutions that:
- bring the conveniences and benefits of interoperability to member companies
- reduce the cost of implementing sensors
- decrease signal count
- facilitate in-band interrupts
- enable in-band power savings commands
- lessen interface power consumption
The MIPI I3C Working Group was originally formed to address fundamental system design challenges caused by the proliferation of sensors in devices. The fragmentation caused by numerous interfaces complicated integration, and the varied requirements often increased product development and integration costs, and hindered innovation. MIPI I3C was developed to address the need for a scalable, cost-effective solution for integrating sensors into all types of mobile, mobile-influenced and embedded systems applications.
Currently, the growing adoption of MIPI I3C as a ubiquitous, intelligent low-speed interface is driving the specification's evolution beyond sensing within mobile products. Organizations both within and outside the mobile ecosystem are looking to standardize more characteristics and requesting the addition of new features and capabilities to the I3C specification.
The MIPI I3C Working Group focuses on maintaining the relevancy and encouraging adoption of the I3C specification. Efforts include shortening specification revision time to market; improving how I3C is specified; adding support for new device types as they arise; maintaining the DCR, Bus Context and MDB web-based registries; developing resources such as whitepapers, FAQs, Application Notes, and Conformance Test Suite; and maintaining both legacy liaisons and new partnerships to collaboratively drive I3C development and broaden adoption.
MIPI I3C, released to the market in late 2016, was welcomed by the industry because it incorporates key attributes of I2C, SPI and UART. It enables manufacturers to combine multiple sensors from different vendors in a device, ensures high-performance and low-power operation, and is practical for smartphones, tablets, wearables, toys, gaming devices, medical, industrial and other use cases.
In 2018, the board of directors approved MIPI I3C Basic v1.0, a subset of the MIPI I3C specification. MIPI I3C Basic bundles 20 of the most commonly needed I3C features to allow developers and other standards organizations to evaluate the incorporation of the specification into their sensor integration plans and design applications. Extending access is designed to encourage innovation in industries beyond mobile, support greater adoption and interoperability, and strengthen the ecosystem by providing a richer development environment.
The working group recognizes that the sensor industry is changing rapidly. The group will work continually to maintain and develop updates to the specification to ensure it is meeting the market’s evolving needs.
Tim McKee, Intel Corporation
Satwant Singh, Lattice Semiconductor
MIPI Alliance members at the Contributor level and above may participate by subscribing to the group on the member website.