The ever increasing demand for smaller electronic devices, with more functionality, longer battery life, and shorter time to market has accelerated use of embedded processors and subsystems to offload the host processor from commonly executed tasks. Processor extensions provide a means to extend a general-purpose processor with custom hardware accelerators to optimize the execution of dedicated applications for reduced energy consumption and area, and/or increased performance. This white paper describes how processor extensions can optimize power and performance of a processor when targeting sensor applications, demonstrated using Synopsys’ DesignWare ARC Processors and ARC Processor Extensions (APEX) technology.