June 5, 2023

Agile Analog unveils RISC-V analog IP subsystem

Accelerating time to market for RISC-V IoT applications.

Agile Analog, the customizable analog IP company, is launching the first complete analog IP subsystem for RISC-V applications at the RISC-V Summit Europe in Barcelona (5-9 June). The initial subsystem includes all the analog IP required for a typical battery-powered IoT system, including a power management unit (PMU), a sleep management unit (SMU), and data converters. This unique, process-agnostic, customizable and digitally wrapped analog IP subsystem will help solve many of the issues that System on Chip (SoC) designers currently encounter, as it pairs with a RISC-V core to form a complete solution.

Chris Morrison, Director of Product Marketing at Agile Analog, explains:

“The RISC-V architecture is enabling a surge of new SoC product developments, and the demand for more accessible and configurable IP solutions is increasing. One of the major challenges that digital chip designers face is in integrating the analog circuitry to support their SoC designs.”

Chris adds:

“With our RISC-V analog IP subsystem, it’s possible to access the appropriate analog IP for a specific process and foundry. This can then be integrated seamlessly with digital IP from a digital IP provider in the RISC-V space, simplifying chip design and accelerating the time to market for new RISC-V IoT applications. As with all of the Agile Analog IP, this subsystem is customizable to give the exact feature set required for the application.”

Traditional analog IP has been a major bottleneck for many years, with limited options available, and chip designers have struggled to integrate multiple analog IP blocks, often from multiple vendors. The design and verification of the mixed-signal boundary between analog and digital has been a particularly daunting task, as this is renowned for being time-consuming and expensive, requiring specialist knowledge and tools. However, as a result of Agile Analog’s unique technology and novel digitally wrapped approach, these integration and verification challenges can be addressed and promptly resolved by Agile Analog on behalf of the customer.

This new analog IP subsystem is verified in both analog and digital environments, connects directly to the MCU’s peripheral bus, and is supplied with a SystemVerilog model for easy integration into an SoC’s existing digital verification environment.

Calista Redmond, CEO of RISC-V International, comments:

“RISC-V is already seen in over 10 billion cores globally, and the RISC-V ecosystem is flourishing. It’s really important that there are innovative solutions like this to help chip designers in our community to fast-track the delivery of exciting new RISC-V IoT applications.”

Agile Analog will be exhibiting and presenting at the RISC-V Summit Europe 2023.

Agile Analog’s initial RISC-V subsystem macro for IoT applications is available now consisting of the following sub-blocks:

agilePMU

The agilePMU Subsystem is an efficient and highly integrated power management unit for SoCs/ASICs. Featuring a power-on-reset, multiple low drop-out regulators, and an associated reference generator, this is designed to ensure low power consumption while providing optimal power management capabilities. Equipped with an integrated digital controller, this subsystem offers precise control over start-up and shutdown, supports supply sequencing, and allows for individual programmable output voltage for each LDO. Status monitors provide real-time feedback on the current state of the subsystem, ensuring optimal system performance.

agileSMU

The agileSMU Subsystem is a low power integrated macro consisting of the essential IP blocks required to securely manage waking up a SoC from sleep mode.  Typically containing a programmable oscillator for low frequency SoC operation and RTC, a number of low power comparators which can be used to initiate the wake-up sequence, and a power-on-reset which provides a robust, start-up reset to the SoC. Equipped with an integrated digital controller, this subsystem offers precise control over wake-up commands and sequencing. Status monitors provide real-time feedback on the current state of the subsystem, ensuring optimal system performance over the full product lifecycle.

agileSensorIF

The agileSensorIF Subsystem is a low power integrated macro providing all the analog required to interface with external sensors. Featuring two up-to 12-bit and 64 MSPS SAR ADCs, a 12-bit DAC and multiple programmable comparators, this sensor interface provides all the connections needed to interface with the outside world. Integrated programmable gain amplifiers and buffers support a wide range of external sensors and systems. It is equipped with an integrated digital controller and status monitors to provide real-time feedback on the current state of the subsystem, ensuring optimal system performance over the full product lifecycle.

Agile Analog™

Agile Analog is transforming the world of analog IP with Composa, its innovative, configurable, multi-process analog IP technology. Headquartered in Cambridge, UK, with a growing number of partners and customers across the globe, Agile Analog has developed a unique way to automatically generate analog IP that meet the customer’s exact specifications on almost any process from any foundry. The company provides a wide and ever expanding selection of analog IP and subsystems for power management, data conversion, IC health and monitoring, security and always-on domains. Agile Analog's novel approach utilizes tried and tested analog circuits within its Composa library to create customized and verified analog IP solutions. This reduces the time to market and increases quality, helping to accelerate innovation in semiconductor design.

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