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Field programmable system on chip

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Innovative chip for industrial control

A Spanish SME funded by the European Commission has developed a first prototype of Field Programmable System On Chip (FIPSOC) device. The circuits on the chip will integrate combinational blocks and programmable analogue cells for signal conditioning and data acquisition. The integrated circuit also includes the standard for industrial control 8051 micro controller. The device is expected to find immediate application in the sectors of electronic instrumentation and industrial process control.

Industrial Technologies

The scales of today's semiconductor manufacturing is in the order of sub-micron sizes, where an intense research effort is currently striving to push the limits to the ever smaller nanometre scale. Fabrication processes available at such minute scales enables the design of true systems on a single chip. Integrated circuits can function in a multitude of ways since the central processing unit, memory, networking, communications, graphics and specialised functions can all be inscribed on a single piece of silicon. FIPSOC, field programmable system on a chip, is a fully re-configurable mixed mode field programmable gate array (FPGA) with an embedded micro-controller. The chip greatly accelerates the development of mixed signal integrated applications. Design cycles can be reduced by 30 to 40% compared to other digital and analogue FPGA's and design tools. Such reduction is possible when use is made of this innovative configurable hardware and the integrated emulation and verification design flows. The FIPSOC integrated circuit has embedded the standard 8051 micro-controller, a field programmable gate array, and a set of flexible configurable analogue cells optimised for signal conditioning and data acquisition applications. In addition, a powerful set of CAD tools enables the user to specify, simulate and map the complete design onto a single chip using simply a Window's environment. Finally the SME that developed the FIPSOC device provides a library for the easy migration from prototype to ASIC. Users of the proposed technology will benefit in device reusability, dynamic re-configurability and rapid time to market for volume production of microelectronics' products. Furthermore, there will be no more fabrication delays for on chip system integration and the area of the chip will be reduced. The integrated system emulation provides an easy design methodology. An international patent belonging to the Spanish SME "SISDA" protects the FIPSOC technology.

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