|David Hamilton, CEO at ATEEDA introduced me to his company where they help cut the cost of testing analog pins on your IC by using conventional digital testers.
OptimATE has been around for two years and it is a software tool used by design or test engineers to make voltage measurements on your analog pins. The digital tester reads the analog pin at a specific voltage reference point and determines pass/fail. By strobing at multiple time points you can determine if the analog behavior is within spec or not. Pricing is around $150K annually.
LinBIST is brand new for this year and is a test technology applicable to linear circuits in your chip. Adding BIST to you analog design means that a small number of digital gates will be added to your design with the push of a button, plus you don’t have to know RTL coding to get the BIST logic generated. Just fill in some values on a dialog box and the BIST part is ready to be used.
Also with LinBIST there is a small analog IP block used so you’ll have to pay royalties on your designs along with an annual licensing fee.
You can run the the tools on Unix or Windows computers.
This 12 person start-up has an interesting niche in the DFT world for analog designers. Look for them at DATE in Europe.
When I was at start-up Opmaxx we talked about doing analog BIST in conference proceedings however we never pulled it off commercially. I think that ATEEDA can be a success in analog BIST with their approach.
I was selling Opmaxx in South europe. I think the problem with Opmaxx at this time has been more a funding (lack of money) problem rather than a technology failure.
I have the feeling that the idea behind the product was good but that the company had to stop more because it was underfunded. A very common problem with startups.
I remember having very good contacts with Motorola in the Toulouse plant : They started several evaluations that were closely watched by their US counterparts… The problem was that, due to their initial success, Opmaxx got dug into mountains of problems to fix, (in order to match valid customer requests during the beta phase). To support this heavy presales activity, Opmaxx had to divert resources and could not anymore continue to develop their products. They even ran short in presales people…
The products never reached the final production stage… and the company had to stop…
Did you think that the Opmaxx BIST technology was more viable than the Sensitivity Analysis technology?
I was the technical founder of the Opmaxx DFT/BIST product line and closely involved with its test vector generation and design optimization tools.
Opmaxx DFT/BIST technology even after more than a decade remains the most comprehensive commercial analog BIST technology ever offered. We had solid solutions for PLLs, ADCs, DACs and filters.
The analog design and test vector development tools experienced some technical challenges but they were surmountable with proposer focus.
The problem was that the company was under-funded, over extended and over marketed. It offered too many products beyond its capacity to support them. It also set customer expectations with respect to accuracy and quality much higher that what could be realistically achieved in short term even if the company had access to adequate funding.
Both product lines had and still have solid market potential if positioned, marketed and funded properly.
I am following ATEEDA with great interest. It appears they extending themselves beyond their means and capabilities as well.
Thanks for the update. I was part of the over-marketing problem, oops. It was nice to receive an EDN product of the year award.
What happened to the Opmaxx BIST technnology?
I lost touch of it after Fluence.
I believe the EDN award was well worthed and you did a great job marketing the product set.
The last I heard was that some of the BIST technology was being used inside the ATE platform for accurate measurement. As far as I know, the product set itself is shelved.