What would a tiny chip of your own design do, if you could get Google to Fab it for you for free?

Google is offering to fab some community-submitted open-source chip designs for free (great for MicroPython-scale programming).

  • 130 nm process built with Skywater foundry
  • Skywater Platform Development Kit (PDK) is currently digital-only
  • 40 projects will be selected for fabrication
  • 10 mm^2 area available per-project
  • Will use a standard harness with a RISC-V core and RAM
  • Each project will get back ~100 ICs
  • All projects must be open source via Git
  • Verilog and gate-level layout

I asked myself, what chips do I see out there that are useful, and that tiny? Disk controllers came to mind first.

After pondering a bit more, I, for one, would like to see a MicroPython-programmable boot rom chip. Like it replaces UEFI, making booting simple. But having said this, I have no engineering background. There’s no way I could design a VLSI ASIC.

I’ll bet it’s the likes of ADAfruit (who has forked MicroPython, calling it CircuitPython), and the MicroPython community who gets the most stoked about this. Perhaps also the Coreboot, and Libreboot communities.

TPM modules and even a Management module (such as IPMI, Redfish, Idrac, ILO) would be nice. since those tend to be closed source.

1 Like