efabless Corp., an open-innovation, hardware creation platform, became the first online marketplace for community-developed, customized intellectual property (IP) and integrated circuits (ICs), allowing hardware system innovators to turn ideas into marketable products.
Initially focused on analog and mixed-signal design for customized ICs, efabless addresses all of the steps required to cost effectively take an electronics specification to prototype. Its growing community of approximately 700 members in 30 countries can make full use of an online platform with a robust design flow at no upfront cost. Members have access to a marketplace of IP blocks and foundry-partner process technologies for prototyping without the need for non-disclosure agreements (NDAs).
In a simultaneous announcement, efabless and X-FAB Silicon Foundries launched an open mixed-signal design challenge. The design challenge, the first of its kind in the semiconductor industry, was created to drive further ingenuity in IC development. The challenge gives designers of all levels of experience the opportunity to deliver an IP block for an ultra-low power voltage reference design. All design entries will be objectively evaluated with outcomes determined entirely by relative performance compared to target specifications. More details can be found at: http://bit.ly/2fvwt1W
Serving the Emerging Innovator Market
Hardware innovation in the internet of things (IoT), robotics, human/machine interfaces, autonomous vehicles and other emerging sectors has created an explosion of consumer and industrial designs, each unique in form, function and needs. Each design typically requires a different combination of sensor, and analog/mixed-signal electronics to connect the product’s digital “smarts” with the world in which it operates.
This emerging hardware design era is customized and multi-disciplined, requiring intensive collaboration among product visionaries, electronic design experts and engineers. Its requirements are not easily addressed by conventional methods of electronics development. Conversely, efabless adapts proven open innovation models including co-creation and crowdsourcing to the specific requirements of customized integrated electronics, delivering creative, cost-effective and customized solutions.
The efabless approach includes an easy-to-use, automated framework that allows its customers and community to formulate, communicate and agree on design requirements, quantitatively evaluate the successful completion of the resulting design specifications and deliver prototypes. Over time, the marketplace will offer a wide variety of customizable reference designs that can be used by the community to deliver solutions across a diverse set of applications.
Initial applications for the service fill the needs of foundries and IC providers for on-demand and custom IP. Foundries post design requests at efabless to fill gaps in their IP portfolio for process nodes. IC companies request custom analog and digital IP for new designs.
“We see a tremendous need for on-demand mixed-signal electronics, a sector that is unfilled or underserved by traditional semiconductor companies,” says Mohamed Kassem, efabless’ co-founder and chief technology officer. “efabless fills that need and we see our opportunity growing over time as we enable products for exciting new sectors like IoT, eHealth, home automation and wearable technology.”
“Empowering the efabless community with our open platform is the key to the solution,” adds Mike Wishart, co-founder and chief executive officer of efabless. “The same principles at work in our current offering for IP will be extended to collaborative mixed-signal IC and full electronics definition and design for ‘smart products’.”
Experienced Lineup of Professionals
efabless is a privately held emerging company, with plans to raise outside capital in 2017. Its engineers are experienced professionals from the IC, open source and IT/web industries. Board members and investors include Kassem and Wishart; Jack Hughes, founder and former chief executive officer of TopCoder, a software design and development crowdsourcing platform; and Lucio Lanza, managing partner of Lanza techVentures.
efabless corporation is an open innovation, hardware creation platform for “smart” products. Its community delivers customized integrated electronics required for IC companies and hardware system innovators to turn their ideas into marketable products. Specializing in the design of analog/mixed-signal IP and ICs, MEMS and agile ASICs, efabless gives designers the means to define, develop and monetize their work. Its community spans approximately 700 members from 30 countries around the world. For information visit: www.efabless.com