Algotronix adds thermal signaling to IP core DesignTag
July 18, 2008 //
Algotronix Ltd. (Edinburgh, Scotland), has added 'thermal signaling' to DesignTag, an active digital circuit element that can be designed-in to ICs and FPGAs and detected through-package by an external scanner.
LONDON Algotronix Ltd. (Edinburgh, Scotland), has added 'thermal signaling' to DesignTag, an active digital circuit element that can be designed-in to ICs and FPGAs and detected through-package by an external scanner.
Algotronix, a consultancy spun out of Xilinx in 1998, has been offering DesignTag for over a year. DesignTag is intended to provide a method of identifying falsely labeled chips and supporting enforcement of IP core and CAD tool license agreements.
DesignTag is a digital core coded with a customer-specific Ôsignature' that can be identified externally from a working device without needing to read the FPGA bit stream or take the chip out of its package. It works by modulating the power dissipation of the host device by around 5mW which creates small temperature changes which are sensed by a thermocouple and decrypted by the reader software running on a PC.
Single or multiple tags can be present in a single chip and the scanner can read the serial number of each tag and use a separate web-based database to find out about a tagged chip. Security mechanisms allow DesignTag users to control who can detect their tag or to restrict elements of the information stored in the web database.
According to Algotronix the use of wirelessly readable tags would allow providers of IP cores to increase recognition for their work and increase the value of their cores and businesses. At present chip labeling is done in ink at the final stages of manufacture and recognizes the IDM that physically makes the system-chip (SOC) or the maker of the FPGA, but not the IP contributors.
"The problem is how to deter theft and prove ownership of the design, said Tom Kean, managing director of Algotronix, in a statement.
The tag can also be used to confirm the design revision loaded into the FPGA or to signal internal status conditions, such as, when an overflow has occurred or a soft error was detected in memory. Signaling is done without interrupting the system operation or accessing package pins.
The DesignTag version shipping today for use with FPGAs is called DesignTag Red. This is available at an introductory price of $200 per code license. The DesignTag reader software is available separately at a cost of $800, and a starter kit comprising an evaluation board and thermocouple data logger, together with the reader software and licenses for five codes is shipping at $2,000. An ASIC/ASSP version of DesignTag will also be available; this is targeted at identifying rebranded semiconductors and will form a key mechanism to uncover parts that have been fraudulently remarked to enhance their value.
DesignTag Black is a version to cover the license enforcement needs of third-party IP core and CAD tool suppliers. It also provides a mechanism for IP core vendors to obtain product version or status information from IP cores embedded in a larger design. In this application the top level designer is prevented from disabling or removing the tag by additional protection mechanisms.
Thermal signaling works by modulating the power dissipation of the host device in a predefined way. Heat pulses propagate through the chip package with low attenuation. The level of the power surge is selected to provide a package temperature rise of around 0.1 degrees C. The additional dissipation is typically 5mW, against an operational power consumption of greater than 150mW for a mid-sized Xilinx Spartan FPGA.
The DesignTag defaults to turn off after 15 minutes of operation. This has two effects. Firstly it eliminates the small incremental power consumption, and secondly it also makes detection by a fraudster more difficult as power has to be cycled.
The thermal output by the DesignTag takes the form of a 64-bit code. A spreading code is used to control the heat generator using a circuit similar to a linear feedback shift register. The spreading-code generation circuit is based on the 'Tag ID' which acts like a cryptographic key, where each key results in a different pseudo-noise sequence.
The use of thermal signaling has several advantages over RF signaling in environments where electromagnetic interference is being suppressed, Algotronix claims. However, the technology is not recommended for chips used with heatsinks or with forced-air cooling.
Multithreading boosts ThreadX on MIPS cores
December 06, 2013
Imagination Technologies and Express Logic have expanded their support of the ThreadX real time operating system on Imagination’s ...
UK distribution sees 5% growth in 2014
Global M2M innovations design contest
PHI Group plans acquisition Nord Energy to extend LED street lighting offering
EV market is much more than passenger cars - and it's booming
Stanene may be better than Graphene
December 06, 2013
A team of researchers led by Stanford University professor Shoucheng Zhang now have high hopes that a new material they call ...
US demand for LED lighting to grow more than 10 percent annually to 2017, reports Freedonia
Women demand different connectivity functions in the car
Advanced batteries reached $10.8bn in market value in 2012, reports Navigant Research
- 3mm × 3mm QFN IC Directly Monitors 0V to 80V Supplies
- UltraCMOS® Semiconductor Technology Platforms: A Rapid Advancement of Process & Manufacturing
- Adaptive Cell Converter Topology Enables Constant Efficiency in PFC Applications
- Isolated 4-Channel, Thermocouple/RTD Temperature Measurement System with 0.5°C Accuracy
InterviewPerformance monitoring solution helps provide intelligent control of high power systems
A performance monitoring solution designed to enable companies to monitor high power IGBT module systems in locomotive, wind turbine, High Voltage DC and industrial drive applications was unveiled this ...
Filter WizardCheck out the Filter Wizard Series of articles by Filter Guru Kendall Castor-Perry which provide invaluable practical Analog Design guidelines.
Linear video channel
READER OFFERRead more
Internet of Things (IoT) manufacturer Ciseco has launched the Raspberry Pi ‘Wireless Inventors Kit’ (RasWIK), featuring 88 pieces to provide everything a Pi owner needs to follow a series of step-by-step projects or to create their own wireless devices, without the need for configuration or even writing code.
RasWIK has been designed to be highly accessible, demystifying the dark art of wireless and enabling anyone with basic computing skills to begin building wireless devices with a Raspberry Pi. You can create anything from a simple traffic light, to a battery monitor, or even a temperature gauge that sends data to the Xively IoT cloud so billions can access the data.This month, Ciseco is giving away twelve Raspberry Pi Wireless Inventors kits, worth £49.99 each for EETimes Europe's readers to win.
And the winners are...
In our previous reader offer, Farsens was giving away five kits for EEtimes Europe readers to evaluate its FenixVortex, Kineo and X1 wireless, battery free sensor tags.
Lucky winners include Mr A. Neil from the UK, Mr. E. Delvaux from Belgium, Mr Lengal from the Czech Republic, Mr H. Bijlsma from the Netherlands, and Mr G. Pfaff from Germany. All should be receiving their packages soon. Lets wish them some interesting findings with their projects.
December 15, 2011 | Texas instruments | 222901974
Unique Ser/Des technology supports encrypted video and audio content with full duplex bi-directional control channel over a single wire interface.