The Tekmos Solution for Your Internet of Things
Applications in the internet of things are driven by the requirements of space, power, and development time. The total solution needs to be small. It typically runs off of a battery. And it needs a quick time-to-market.
The major semiconductor suppliers have developed a number of cost effective blocks that can meet 90% of the requirements of an application. It is the last 10% that is the problem.
The customer typically faces two approaches for the last 10%. You can build what you need out of discrete components. This is inexpensive, but requires a lot of board space. Or you can take an SOC approach. This will work, but can be every expensive, since the presence of wireless interfaces and ARM processors requires advanced processing and expensive NREs. And such solutions require more development time because of the chip complexity.
Tekmos has a third approach. We create a cost effective ASIC using an appropriate technology to implement the missing 10%. Then we use stacked die assembly technology to add the processor, wireless communications, sensors, and other standard features. This results in a single chip implementation of your system, bringing you all of the advantages of an ASIC, but without the high NRE charges. Our name for this program of combining standard building blocks with your unique IP is Unify.
Step 1 – Pick Your Processor
Most systems need a processor. Tekmos uses the Kinetis processors from NXP. These processors come with a wide variety of peripherals and memory sizes. Since they are based on the ARM architecture, they are supported by both NXP development systems and the ARM Ecosystem of development tools.
Step 2 – Pick Your Peripherals
Most peripherals involve wireless connectivity. WiFi, Bluetooth, and Zigby are common choices, and may be integrated into the processor or added separately.
A second peripheral choice can be memory. It is easy to include large amounts of flash. Because of process incompatibilities, 256KB is a large amount of embedded flash for a processor. An additional 4MB can be added under the Unify approach.
A third choice could be a dedicated peripheral such as a GPS chipset, a MEMS based sensor, or a camera.
Step 3 – Include your own IP to the design with a Tekmos ASIC
Even with these building blocks, you need more to finish your design.
It could be an interface to a microphone. A microphone has the wrong impedance to connect to the ADC in the Kinetis processor. The signal must be buffered and amplified. This takes op-amps, resistors, capacitors, and perhaps AGC.
Or you may need a power management which can switch on or off your peripherals. And control your battery charging. And perhaps generate alternate voltages for your system.
Or you may need more digital peripherals. Such as a real time clock, or more SPI ports, or even a co-processor. Or include the design that is currently in an FPGA.
This is where the Tekmos ASIC comes into play.
We can combine all of this into a technology appropriate ASIC. This ASIC also serves as the substrate for connecting the other blocks and provides you with a single chip solution for your system.
And ASICs do not have to be expensive. Most Tekmos ASICs use an embedded array based technology which typically uses two masks, and results in low NREs.
Download our Unify - ASICs brochure here: pdf Tekmos Unify ASICs Brochure (2.26 MB)