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<h2>In this document</h2>
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<h2 id="what_is_batching">What is batching?</h2>
<p>Batching refers to storing sensor events in a hardware FIFO before reporting
them through the <a href="hal-interface.html">HAL</a> instead of reporting them immediately.</p>
<p>Batching can enable significant power savings by preventing the SoC from waking
up to receive each event. Instead, the events can be grouped and processed
together. </p>
<p>The bigger the FIFOs, the more power can be saved. Implementing batching is an
exercise of trading off hardware memory for reduced power consumption.</p>
<p>Batching happens when a sensor possesses a hardware FIFO
(<code>sensor_t.fifoMaxEventCount &gt; 0</code>) and we are in one of two situations:</p>
<li> <code>max_report_latency &gt; 0</code>, meaning the sensor events for this specific sensor can
be delayed up to <code>max_report_latency</code> before being reported through the HAL. </li>
<li> or the SoC is in suspend mode and the sensor is a non-wake-up sensor, meaning
events must be stored while waiting for the SoC to wake up. </li>
<p>See the paragraph on the <a
batch function</a> for more details.</p>
<p>The opposite of batching is the continuous operation, where events are not
buffered, meaning they are reported immediately. Continuous operation
corresponds to:</p>
<li> when <code>max_report_latency = 0</code> and the events can be delivered to the application,
<li> the SoC is awake </li>
<li> or the sensor is a wake-up sensor </li>
<li> or when the sensor doesnt have a hardware FIFO (<code>sensor_t.fifoMaxEventCount =
0</code>), in which case
<li> the events are reported if the SoC is awake or the sensor is a wake-up sensor </li>
<li> the events are lost when the SoC is asleep and the sensor is not a wake-up
sensor </li>
<h2 id="wake-up_fifos_and_non-wake-up_fifos">Wake-up FIFOs and non-wake-up FIFOs</h2>
<p>Sensor events from <a href="suspend-mode.html#wake-up_sensors">wake-up
sensors</a> must be stored into a wake-up FIFO. There can be one wake-up FIFO
per sensor, or, more commonly, one big shared wake-up FIFO where events from all wake-up
sensors are interleaved. Other options are also possible, with for example some
wake-up sensors having a dedicated FIFO, and the rest of the wake-up sensors
all sharing the same one.</p>
<p>Similarly, sensor events from <a
href="suspend-mode.html#non-wake-up_sensors">non-wake-up sensors</a> must be
stored into a non-wake-up FIFOs, and there can be one or several
non-wake-up FIFOs.</p>
<p>In all cases, wake-up sensor events and non-wake-up sensor events cannot be
interleaved into the same FIFO. Wake-up events go in wake-up FIFOs, and
non-wake-up events go in non-wake-up FIFOs.</p>
<p>For the wake-up FIFO, the one big shared FIFO design provides the best power
benefits. For the non-wake-up FIFO, there is no preference between the one big
shared FIFO and several small reserved FIFOs”. See <a
href="#fifo_allocation_priority">FIFO allocation priority</a> for suggestions
on how to dimension each FIFO.</p>
<h2 id="behavior_outside_of_suspend_mode">Behavior outside of suspend mode</h2>
<p>When the SoC is awake (not in suspend mode), the events can be stored
temporarily in their FIFO, as long as they are not delayed by more than
<p>As long as the SoC doesnt enter the suspend mode, no event shall be dropped or
lost. If internal hardware FIFOs is getting full before <code>max_report_latency</code>
elapsed, then events are reported at that point to ensure that no event is
<p>If several sensors share the same FIFO and the <code>max_report_latency</code> of one of
them elapses, all events from the FIFO are reported, even if the
<code>max_report_latency</code> of the other sensors didnt elapse yet. The general goal is
to reduce the number of times batches of events must be reported, so as soon as
one event must be reported, all events from all sensors can be reported.</p>
<p>For example, if the following sensors are activated:</p>
<li> accelerometer batched with <code>max_report_latency</code> = 20s </li>
<li> gyroscope batched with <code>max_report_latency</code> = 5s </li>
<p>Then the accelerometer batches can be reported at the same time the gyroscope
batches are reported (every 5 seconds), even if the accelerometer and the
gyroscope do not share the same FIFO.</p>
<h2 id="behavior_in_suspend_mode">Behavior in suspend mode</h2>
<p>Batching is particularly beneficial when wanting to collect sensor data in the
background without keeping the SoC awake. Because the sensor drivers and HAL
implementation are not allowed to hold a wake-lock*, the SoC can enter the
suspend mode even while sensor data is being collected.</p>
<p>The behavior of sensors while the SoC is suspended depends on whether the
sensor is a wake-up sensor. See <a
href="suspend-mode.html#wake-up_sensors">Wake-up sensors</a> for some
<p>When a non-wake-up FIFO fills up, it must wrap around and behave like a
circular buffer, overwriting older events: the new events replace the old ones.
<code>max_report_latency</code> has no impact on non-wake-up FIFOs while in suspend mode.</p>
<p>When a wake-up FIFO fills up, or when the <code>max_report_latency</code> of one of the
wake-up sensor elapsed, the hardware must wake up the SoC and report the data.</p>
<p>In both cases (wake-up and non-wake-up), as soon as the SoC comes out of
suspend mode, a batch is produced with the content of all FIFOs, even if
<code>max_report_latency</code> of some sensors didnt elapse yet. This minimizes the risk
of having to wake-up the SoC again soon if it goes back to suspend. Hence, it
minimizes power consumption.</p>
<p>*One notable exception of drivers not being allowed to hold a wake lock is when
a wake-up sensor with <a href="report-modes.html#continuous">continuous
reporting mode</a> is activated with <code>max_report_latency</code> &lt; 1
second. In that case, the driver can hold a wake lock because the SoC would
anyway not have the time to enter the suspend mode, as it would be awoken by
a wake-up event before reaching the suspend mode.</p>
<h2 id="precautions_to_take_when_batching_wake-up_sensors">Precautions to take when batching wake-up sensors</h2>
<p>Depending on the device, it might take a few milliseconds for the SoC to
entirely come out of suspend and start flushing the FIFO. Enough head room must
be allocated in the FIFO to allow the device to entirely come out of suspend
without the wake-up FIFO overflowing. No events shall be lost, and the
<code>max_report_latency</code> must be respected.</p>
<h2 id="precautions_to_take_when_batching_non-wake-up_on-change_sensors">Precautions to take when batching non-wake-up on-change sensors</h2>
<p>On-change sensors only generate events when the value they are measuring is
changing. If the measured value changes while the SoC is in suspend mode,
applications expect to receive an event as soon as the SoC wakes up. Because of
this, batching of <a href="suspend-mode.html#non-wake-up_sensors">non-wake-up</a> on-change sensor events must be performed carefully if the sensor shares its
FIFO with other sensors. The last event generated by each on-change sensor must
always be saved outside of the shared FIFO so it can never be overwritten by
other events. When the SoC wakes up, after all events from the FIFO have been
reported, the last on-change sensor event must be reported.</p>
<p>Here is a situation we want to avoid:</p>
<li> An application registers to the non-wake-up step counter (on-change) and the
non-wake-up accelerometer (continuous), both sharing the same FIFO </li>
<li> The application receives a step counter event step_count=1000 steps </li>
<li> The SoC goes to suspend </li>
<li> The user walks 20 steps, causing step counter and accelerometer events to be
interleaved, the last step counter event being step_count = 1020 steps </li>
<li> The user doesnt move for a long time, causing accelerometer events to continue
accumulating in the FIFO, eventually overwriting every step_count event in the
shared FIFO </li>
<li> SoC wakes up and all events from the FIFO are sent to the application </li>
<li> The application receives only accelerometer events and thinks that the user
didnt walk (bad!) </li>
<p>By saving the last step counter event outside of the FIFO, the HAL can report
this event when the SoC wakes up, even if all other step counter events were
overwritten by accelerometer events. This way, the application receives
step_count = 1020 steps when the SoC wakes up.</p>
<h2 id="implementing_batching">Implementing batching</h2>
<p>Batching cannot be emulated in software. It must be implemented entirely in
hardware, with hardware FIFOs. In particular, it cannot be implemented on the
SoC, for example in the HAL implementation, as this would be
counter-productive. The goal here is to save significant amounts of power.
Batching must be implemented without the aid of the SoC, which should be
allowed to be in suspend mode during batching.</p>
<p><code>max_report_latency</code> can be modified at any time, in particular while the
specified sensor is already enabled; and this shall not result in the loss of
<h2 id="fifo_allocation_priority">FIFO allocation priority</h2>
<p>On platforms in which hardware FIFO size is limited, the system designers may
have to choose how much FIFO to reserve for each sensor. To help with this
choice, here is a list of applications made possible when batching is
implemented on the different sensors.</p>
<h3 id="high_value_low_power_pedestrian_dead_reckoning">High value: Low power pedestrian dead reckoning</h3>
<p>Target batching time: 1 to 10 minutes</p>
<p>Sensors to batch:</p>
<li> Wake-up Step detector </li>
<li> Wake-up Game rotation vector at 5Hz </li>
<li> Wake-up Barometer at 5Hz </li>
<li> Wake-up Uncalibrated Magnetometer at 5Hz </li>
<p>Batching this data allows performing pedestrian dead reckoning while letting
the SoC go to suspend.</p>
<h3 id="high_value_medium_power_intermittent_activity_gesture_recognition">High value: Medium power intermittent activity/gesture recognition</h3>
<p>Target batching time: 3 seconds</p>
<p>Sensors to batch: Non-wake-up Accelerometer at 50Hz</p>
<p>Batching this data allows periodically recognizing arbitrary activities and
gestures without having to keep the SoC awake while the data is collected.</p>
<h3 id="medium_value_medium_power_continuous_activity_gesture_recognition">Medium value: Medium power continuous activity/gesture recognition</h3>
<p>Target batching time: 1 to 3 minutes</p>
<p>Sensors to batch: Wake-up Accelerometer at 50Hz</p>
<p>Batching this data allows continuously recognizing arbitrary activities and
gestures without having to keep the SoC awake while the data is collected.</p>
<h3 id="medium-high_value_interrupt_load_reduction">Medium-high value: Interrupt load reduction</h3>
<p>Target batching time: &lt; 1 second</p>
<p>Sensors to batch: any high frequency sensor, usually non-wake-up.</p>
<p>If the gyroscope is set at 240Hz, even batching just 10 gyro events can reduce
the number of interrupts from 240/second to 24/second.</p>
<h3 id="medium_value_continuous_low_frequency_data_collection">Medium value: Continuous low frequency data collection</h3>
<p>Target batching time: 1 to 10 minutes</p>
<p>Sensors to batch:</p>
<li> Wake-up barometer at 1Hz, </li>
<li> Wake-up humidity sensor at 1Hz </li>
<li> Other low frequency wake-up sensors at similar rates </li>
<p>Allows creating monitoring applications at low power.</p>
<h3 id="medium-low_value_continuous_full-sensors_collection">Medium-low value: Continuous full-sensors collection</h3>
<p>Target batching time: 1 to 10 minutes</p>
<p>Sensors to batch: all wake-up sensors, at high frequencies</p>
<p>Allows full collection of sensor data while leaving the SoC in suspend mode.
Only to consider if FIFO space is not an issue.</p>