Octavo Systems takes the work and expense out of designing full featured computing power into deeply embedded applications with system in package solutions.
Not long ago designers of computing subsystems for deeply embedded industrial applications faced a stark choice. One one hand, inexpensive and easily managed microcontroller solutions are available with an increasingly dizzying array of sophisticated features. Yet on the other hand, microcontrollers still fall short if a product needs to support a sophisticated operating system such as Linux, if advanced networking is required, if it must serve as a USB host, or if it must include other modern computing features that require leveraging significant software resources. If computing at that scale is required, the design might include an expensive and bulky single board PC or ARM computer, or an engineer could be tasked with a complex and expensive design and manufacturing process for a custom solution. This contrast can seriously reduce options for a successful product implementation, driving a choice between a solution that might be functionally uncompetitive or one that is economically impractical in the modest manufacturing quantities of industrial products.
For customers with extreme requirements, Allied Component Works (ACW) has designed and manufactured computer boards leveraging powerful embedded processors intended for mobile computing applications, with extreme fine line packages and high speed design rules. But these solutions are grossly expensive in small quantity (prototype bare printed wiring boards alone can exceed US$10000 to fabricate). They require an inordinate amount of time and money to design, manufacture, and test, while also being subject to the will of a fast moving technology market and the limited component lifetimes that go with it. This situation is just not suitable for industrial products requiring lower quantities and longer term product support. To address niche applications and encourage wider adoption, chip manufacturers have resorted to open source single board computer (SBC) solutions such as well known offerings from BeagleBoard.org and the Raspberry Pi Foundation. However, these products are not intended for quantity manufacturing and even feature certain restrictions on such use.
System in package (SIP) solutions from Octavo Systems, LLC (Octavo) address exactly these problems, including all of the core components of a computing platform like a Raspberry Pi, but presenting physically more like a processor chip alone, in a low density ball grid array (BGA) package that can be purchased and easily handled in production quantities and at a cost less than the cheapest SBCs. While the semiconductor industry has attempted to offer various SIP devices for some time, ACW believes the Octavo approach is fundamentally different. Constructed from the perspective of the board designer, by designers who have clearly sat in that chair before, these devices take all the work out of it. For example, ACW recently implemented an industrial internet of things (IIOT) customer product at the same technology level as above, but by using an Octavo OSD3358 it was possible to design on a four layer board with easily fabricated six mil (0.006 inch) design rules. This design fully met the need for medium quantity manufacturing with extreme sensitivity to product cost.
Of course, like the SBCs it replaces, some design choices are already baked into the SIP, but the vast majority of functionality of the underlying silicon is still available to the designer, supporting at least a very large fraction of possible applications. None of the critical implementation details are hidden, making the SIP even less of a black box than the average SBC, and in a board area that could hardly be any smaller. Moreover, there are no connectors to consider and Octavo manages the internal component design for long term availability at the SIP level. The OSD3358 is even available for immediate development on certain newer BeagleBoard.org products. Overall, the Octavo SIP solutions handily bridge the embedded computing functionality gap, not only making design and manufacturing of sophisticated computer subsystems easier and more cost effective, but making some applications possible at all.