Do you recall my earlier blogs about Silego Technology and its GreekPAK devices? I think of these devices as super-small mixed-signal FPGAs that you can design and program in just a few minutes and that cost only a few cents.
These components are really rather clever. They each contain an analog-to-digital converter, a couple of analog/digital comparators, an internal oscillator, a small handful of flip-flops and latches, another small handful of pulse-width modulators, a larger handful of lookup tables, and another handful of counters/delays. GreenPAK 1 devices are miniscule at 2mm x 2mm with only eight pins; GreenPAK 2 devices are only a tad larger at 2.5mm x 2.5mm, but they boast 12 pins and SPI connectivity.
The free design software provided by Silego makes it possible to gather up and replace the functionality of anywhere from 10 to more than 30 other simple chips on the board, thereby saving cost, power, and board real estate.
Every now and again, a company hosts an IC design contest. These contests typically involve lots of effort on behalf of the contestants, and it can take weeks or months before we know the results. Silego is doing something different. It is hosting a 20-minute GPAK Shootout Design Contest. It will start Tuesday, Oct. 22, at 3:00 p.m. ET/noon PT and will almost certainly finish within the lunch hour.
When the clock strikes high noon Pacific, Silego will present a schematic on its contest website. This schematic will be of a typical circuit that can be integrated into GPAK ICs. Your mission, should you decide to accept it, will be to use Silego's GPAK2 Designer Software to implement an equivalent design using the GPAK2 IC, and to then email the completed (*.gp2) design file to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The first person to submit a working design, as judged by Silego's FAE Chuck Husted, will win a $500 bounty. There are other prizes for the runners up.
What? You are worried that it might be difficult to learn how to use Silego's GPAK Designer Software? Well, have no fear, because I've played with this myself, and it's really very intuitive and easy to use. In fact, what you should do is bounce over to the contest website to learn more about the contest, download a free copy of GPAK Designer Software, and download a simple practice circuit with which you can hone your skills.
I cannot enter, but I will be eagerly watching the Silego website to see who wins. Good luck to all who participate.