It is a such a pleasure interacting with Vivek Sharma, VP, Greater China & South Asia-India Operations, and director, India Design Centers, STMicroelectronics. While presenting the latest trends in embedded technologies, he hoped that there could eventually be a fab in India, by 2015. Speaking about ‘More Moore’ and ‘More than Moore’, he talked about 3D heterogeneous integration and smart sensors – that provide new, high-growth opportunities. Sharma largely touched upon smart and green energy.
India’s opportunities to leapfrog are immense, especially with a median age of 25.9 years. As for the Indian consumption context, India’s share is ~3 percent worldwide consumption levels 2009/2010. It is said to be $45 billion or ~3 percent in electronics and $6.7 billion or ~2.5 percent in semiconductor consumption.
Taking a look at leveraging of electronics by nations, (as per 2005 data) Taiwan leads with 15.5 percent of GDP, followed by South Korea at 15.1 percent, China at 12.7 percent, Thailand at 12.4 percent, Germany at 8.3 percent, USA at 5.4 percent, Japan at 4.5 percent, and India at 1.7 percent, respectively.
“More than Moore” diversification has been taking place, especially, by combining SoC and SIP to produce higher value systems.
3D heterogeneous integration has been taking place by integrating multiple functions via 3D/TSV. This involves the vertical stacking and connection of various materials, technologies and functional components together:
* Bio, MEMS and other sensors.
* Digital processing (MCUs, MPUs).
* RF transceivers for data transmission.
* Micro-battery (i.e., thin film).
* Other analog ICs and mixed technologies.
Advantages include integrated multi-functionality, more interconnections, reduced power consumption, smaller packaging, increased yield and reliability, and reduced overall costs.
Smart system integration is another trend, which enables combining “More than Moore” and “More Moore” technologies in a single smart system — from multi-package on board to multi-chip on package.
It was a pleasure to catch up with Vivek Sharma, regional VP, Greater China & South Asia region — India Operations and Director, India Design Center, STMicroelectronics, on the sidelines of the 4th Embedded Systems Conference (ESC) 2010 in Bangalore. We had a wonderful discussion on the trends that are reshaping today’s embedded world.
Sharma said: “Moore’s Law has governed many new things. In fact, it has ruled the roost. The industry has been able to push up complexity within a chip and also bring down costs.” As an example, during the last two decades, cost and complexity have combined to create the mobile device — which has turned out to be a disruptive application. The world recently added its 5 billionth mobile subscriber in July 2010. There is likely to be a whopping 50 billion connected devices by 2020!
SiP reshaping embedded world
Borrowing from wikipedia, for those interested, a system-in-a-package or system in package (SiP), also known as a chip stack MCM, is a number of ICs enclosed in a single package or module, and performs all or most of the functions of an electronic system.
3D heterogenous integration and TSV
MEMS key segment
“Accelerometers and gyroscopes are two key segments with substantial growth. MEMS takes advantage of the electrical and mechanical properties of the silicon.’ Sharma added that all MEMS gyroscopes take advantage of Coriolis effect. In 2009, ST introduced over 30 multi-axis gyroscopes.
For the statistically inclined, earlier this year, Dr. Robert Castellano of the Information Network said in their report 3-D TSV: Insight On Critical Issues And Market Analysis, that while the overall equipment market will grow at a CAGR of nearly 60 percent between 2008-2013, the metrology/inspection sector is expected to grow nearly 80 percent. On the device side, TSVs for MEMS is expected to grow nearly 100 percent in this time frame. Read more…
Altera announced an industrial safety data package for automation applications at the Embedded World Exhibition and Conference in Nuremberg, Germany.
Then, Xilinx introduced the Xilinx automotive (XA) family of Spartan-6 field FPGAs optimized for applications requiring high-speed connectivity and high-resolution video performance. At the same conference, Xilinx and Inova Semiconductors introduced an Automotive Pixel Link (APIX) IP solution for the Xilinx automotive (XA) family of FPGAs.
World’s first intelligent mixed signal FPGA
The best one, I believe, has come from Actel. Also at the Embedded World 2010, Actel unveiled SmartFusion, the world’s first intelligent mixed signal FPGA.
Now, isn’t that interesting? There has been a lot of focus on analog/mixed-signal (AMS), and Actel’s SmartFusion could not have been timed better.
I recall a story I had done some time ago with Cosmic Circuits for the India Semiconductor Association’s (ISA) website. The company said that the AMS market in India is set to expand rapidly in the next several years — driven by consumer, communications, automotive and industrial. The variety of analog chips required and the complexity are no different from those needed in other regions of the world!
Why? About 18 months ago, when speaking with Synopsys regarding the Galaxy Custom Designer, I distinctly remember the company telling me that it improves AMS productivity!
As per information, Actel’s SmartFusion devices feature Actel’s proven FPGA fabric, a complete MCU subsystem built around a hard ARM Cortex-M3 processor and programmable analog blocks on a flash process. This means, embedded designers can now easily build the system they want, with all the features they need, on a single chip.
Wonder what’s taken the FPGA suppliers so long to come out with an intelligent mixed signal FPGA. Am sure, the others have things lined up as well!
By the way, I couldn’t find anything from Achronix! Maybe, something is on the way from this company as well!