Chips want to be free...
The Chips4Makers wants to make it possible for makers and hobbyists to make their own open source chips.
Currently the Retro-uC pilot project is being developed and being planned to be taped-out early August 2021. Together with that design also some first customer chips could be produced.
If you have an open source digital (FPGA) design and envision turning it into your own chip,
and you prefer another option than the
Google sponsored Open MPW Shuttle Program don't hesitate to contact us. The program is
currently under beta meaning that the toolchain is under heavy development; help and
support from your side may be needed to get it up to shape for your design. Also due to the
use of mature process technologies there are restrictions on performance and size of the
Main focus currently is on the pure digital flow but a custom (analog) design can also be discussed if the designer is prepared to take the risk of non-functional silicon.
If these boundary conditions don't scare you away please mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with a description of your project and we will discuss how to proceed from there. Please do this before end of June 2021, end of July then your (digital) design should be final in order to make it on the run.
Unfortunately there is no sponsor available for this project so the production of the dice can't be provided for free, the prices for this run are as follows:
The production will consist of making the silicon and packaging it afterwards. Current options considered for packaging is either a QFP128 package with around 90 pins available for own design or do Chip-On-Board (COB) where the dice are put directly on PCB and bonded to pads on the PCB. The former would need a fixed IO ring size and some location for the pins but is a proven approach; the latter would give more flexiblity in die area and IO ring layout plus PCB deisgn but is less proven and thus more risky.
In order to enlarge the open source design pool available to the community, Chips4Makers only processes open source designs. A business-level ASIC service for proprietary designs will be launched after Chips4Makers beta completes.
The project's progress and other side stories on open source silicon production will be posted on the Chips4Makers blog.