How will you make that complex analog/digital circuit in volume?
Traditionally one would lay out a board. Maybe all or most of the digital bits can be stuffed into a field-programmable gate array (FPGA). The analog generally gets distributed via op amps, transistors, and passive components over the printed-circuit board. Crank up the volume and it might make sense to ASIC-ize the FPGA, but there's not much one can do to compress the analog.
Triad Semiconductor now offers an intriguing solution, a mixed-signal ASIC that is relatively cheap to produce.
The company sells ICs they call Via Configurable Arrays (VCA), which are nearly-complete ASICs. They're composed of "tiles" that contain standard components, such as all sorts of op amps, resistors, capacitors, data converters, and the like.
This is an interesting product concept, "via configurable arrays." They seem to have a decent amount of analog IP and I noticed they even have some high voltage and PMIC functions in one part and RF functions in another. Potentially very attractive for medium volumes.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.