Custom ASICs for Industrial and Healthcare Applications

EnSilica is your trusted partner focused on custom ASIC design for industrial and healthcare OEMs looking to deliver reliable, leading-edge solutions across a wide range of applications.

ASIC development can reduce BOM cost by as much as 80% but has historically been reserved for companies who had the high-volume production required to justify the up-front NRE costs.   This has now changed.  The benefits of the ASIC form factor, reliability, environmental robustness, IP protection, functional safety and security of supply now provide the compelling business case required for many applications in the industrial and healthcare markets.

Industry 4.0, Industrial IoT (IIoT) and Smart healthcare are also driving the development of new classes of devices for monitoring and control which reduce waste and increase productivity while also providing cost savings that far outweigh the investment in the underlying technology.

180nm BCD controller MCU for safety critical applications

Typical Industrial ASIC Applications

  • Pressure and flow sensors
  • Gas sensors
  • Chemical sensors
  • Movement and occupancy sensors
  • Motor and Solenoid controllers
  • Vibration and motion sensors
  • Tags and RFIDs
  • Inductive speed and position sensors
  • Precision timers
  • GaN, Laser and LED drivers
  • Ultrasonic sensor drivers

Industrial ASICs – Solving Problems

Industrial ASICs can address the challenges that are often difficult to solve with standard parts.

  • ESD protection for harsh environment
  • Wide supply voltage and temperature range
  • Reverse polarity protection
  • Overvoltage protection and detection
  • Short and open circuit protection and detection
  • Over temperature shut down
  • Error code correction (ECC) on memories and comms links
  • Spread spectrum clock and slew rate control to reduce EMI

65nm vital signs monitor with wireless connectivity

Typical Healthcare/Medical ASICs

  • Vital signs monitoring ( ECG, respiration, pulse and temperature)
  • Motion and gait monitoring and analysis
  • Hearing aids
  • Neurological sensors and stimulators
  • Lab-on chip interfaces
  • RFID and tags

Advances in ASIC Technologies

Recent advances in ASIC technologies make it possible to integrate all the functionality required to bring next-generation designs to market, including; custom sensor and control interfaces, wired and wireless connectivity, embedded security, ai and machine-learning, functional safety, high-voltage circuits and embedded memory.

Connectivity

A wide range of connectivity options can be integrated into an ASIC by our skilled silicon engineers who have extensive RF and digital expertise working with both internal and third-party silicon IP.  Wireless options include: Bluetooth Classic, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), NFC/RFID, Wi-Fi (802.11), LorRa, NB-IoT, 802.15.4 (Zigbee/6LowPAN), Wireless M-Bus, WirelessHart and 802.15.6 (wireless body area networks).  EnSilica have developed custom sub-GHz and GHz radio systems and have experience integrating wired interfaces such as Ethernet, USB, MIPI CSI2 and PCIe, as well as lower complexity interfaces such as CAN, I2C, UART and SPI.

Sensing and Control

Our pedigree in analog covers low-noise sensor interfaces as well as high-voltage sensing and control using high voltage semiconductor processes.  For industrial control applications this includes motor and solenoid controllers, LED and laser drivers, and for industrial sensing; low noise frontends, sense amplifiers, sigma-delta and SAR ADC designs.  For medical applications we have experience working with ECG, respiration, pulse rate and temperature monitoring as well as design lab-on-chip based electrochemical sensors.

Edge Processing and AI

The trend is for the “thing” in the Industrial Internet of Things, or the functionality at the heart of any medical device, to get smarter.  To meet this demand, we work with a range of IP partners to ensure we select and deliver the most appropriate processor core or DSP to meet each device’s specific requirements. There is also an increasing trend for IoT devices to exploit Artificial Intelligence (AI) with the use of Machine Learning (ML) algorithms.  Convolutional Neural Networks (CNN) are among the most popular ML networks, which require a high level of matrix multiplications, for which DSP SIMD operations are a good fit. Dedicated Neural Network Accelerators (NNAs) are the most efficient, achieving 10x performance levels compared to a DSP, but less flexible.  Recent advances in AI/ML have led to a range of NNAs being developed by our IP partners which can be integrated into edge devices for smart processing of data from audio, video, Radar, vibration or motion sensors.  IP suppliers for NNA include Arm, Imagination Technologies, CEVA and Tensilica, our engineers have the skills and experience necessary to integrate these IPs into a SoC design alongside a conventional processor, DSP and/or GPU core.

Embedded Security

With the ever-increasing threat of cyber-attacks comes the need to ensure any connected device is sufficiently protected so that its operation is not disrupted, and the attack does not compromise safety, data security or profitability.  EnSilica has access to a broad library of internal hardware cryptographic accelerator IP and will also use 3rd party security solutions from our partners such as Rambus and Arm to ensure we deliver the highest level of security solutions, including:

  • Firmware integrity and secure boot
  • Secure, mutual authentication for device identification
  • Secure Communication with end-to-end encryption
  • Security life-cycle management
  • Tamper and side-channel attack protection

Functional Safety

EnSilica’s high-quality processes for design and production are built around our ISO2001:2015 quality management systems.  We offer an IEC61508 compliant flow for the development of ASICs and embedded software for industrial applications and we are experienced at working within our customer’s ISO 13485 certified environments to develop ASICs for medical devices. Our engineers are experienced in safety analysis, FMEDA, FTA, and on-chip safety mechanisms and our quality systems and design flow provide traceability through the full product life cycle.

Technical Article:

Developing Safety Critical SoCs

In this article we outline an approach to functional safety that addresses the twin challenges of safety and growing SoC complexity, and which ensures SoCs comply with a wide variety of safety standards such as IEC 61508, ISO 26262, DO-178, DO-254 and ISO 62304 by having safety designed in from the start.

ASIC Benefits

  • Reduced BOM
  • Increased performance
  • Lower power consumption
  • Added functionality
  • Enhanced security
  • Smaller size and weight
  • Improved IP protection
  • Improved yields
  • Reduced test and assembly costs
  • Improved Reliability

EnSilica – Simplifying Your Path to ASIC Deployment

EnSilica’s engineers live and breathe ASIC development every day and apply their in-depth knowledge to ensure that every project meets its requirements and is delivered on-time, on budget and right first-time.  Our wealth of experience combined with our Custom ASIC and full-flow ASIC Design Services enable OEMs and IC design teams to overcome the challenges in complex ASIC design, including:

  • Increasing design complexity and timescale pressure
  • Advances in silicon process capability
  • Performance, cost, and power optimisation
  • Verification complexity and coverage
  • IP selection and integration
  • New EDA tools and methodologies

Find out more

If you are looking for an industrial or healthcare ASIC development and supply partner with the right expertise and experience to bring your next product to market quickly and efficiently then please get in touch for an initial discussion or to request an ASIC Design Consultation.

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