Ever ask the Great Pumpkin for a reconfigurable printed circuit board (PCB) on a chip? Well, unlike Linus in the pumpkin path. Motorola Semiconductor Products Sector (Phoenix, AZ) developed a reconfigurable embedded system process. Its new CORE+ technology, according to company officials, is the world's first--combining standard, diffused components, and field programmable gate arrays (FPGA) on a single silicon substrate. "We've identified a niche opportunity for this advanced product," says Ron Lipinski, director of operations. Motorola took their in-house know how of microprocessors, microcontrollers, and digital signal processors and merged this with their FPGA ingenuity. "We can put whatever a customer wants on silicon," Lipinski adds. Existing processes require at least two chips. This not only means more money, but you lose performance because electrons take longer to move between them. The first product, expected out by the third quarter of 1998, will be "the industry's first hard diffused core." The MPACF250, designed with Motorola's 68K-compatible Cold-Fire architecture, combines 32-bit RISC with a memory-saving, variable-length instruction set. The CORE+ family will be supported by schematic capture, sim-ulation, logic synthesis, compiler, code debuggingand in-circuit emulation tools from several vendors. Contact Connie Schultejans at (602) 732-2852.
Both traditional automation companies and startups are developing technologies to improve processes on the factory floor, while smart sensors and other IoT-related technologies are improving how products are handled during transport and across the supply chain.
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