Developed in India, Made in Taiwan: IIT-linked Semicon Startup Unveils Indigenously Designed System-on-chip

Developed in India, Made in Taiwan: IIT-linked Semicon Startup Unveils Indigenously Designed System-on-chip
Developed in India, Made in Taiwan: IIT-linked Semicon Startup Unveils Indigenously Designed System-on-chip
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Fabless Indian semiconductor startup Mindgrove has made a breakthrough with the launch of ‘Secure IoT’. This chip is being hailed as India’s first commercially available high-performance system on chip (SoC).

The startup, however, told News18 that the chip fabrication took place in Taiwan, while partners assisted in manufacturing and packaging although their identities remain undisclosed.

Secure IoT is specifically crafted for IoT (Internet of Things) devices and comes at a price 30 per cent lower than its counterparts. Additionally, Mindgrove managed to design and dispatch the chip for manufacturing in only eight months, a process that generally takes two to three years in the industry.

According to the startup, this RISC-V-based chip is a high-performance microcontroller that runs at 700 MHz. In simple words, clock speed is a measure of how fast a processor can complete cycles in a second. Higher clock speeds generally indicate faster processing power.

In this case, 700 MHz suggests ‘Secure IoT’ is a relatively fast chip for its segment. Additionally, it is the only Indian chip commercially available in this category.

Designed to offer programmability, flexibility, security, and formidable computing power, the chip caters to a wide array of connected smart devices. From wearables like smartwatches to smart city infrastructure such as connected meters for electricity, water and gas, to home devices like smart locks and speakers, the chip’s applications are diverse and impactful.

“We are currently in the process of signing contracts with several companies, and are on target to ship by early next year. We have secured interest from several companies; however, everything is under an NDA (non-disclosure agreement). We will share further information as soon as it becomes available,” Shashwath TR, CEO and co-founder of Mindgrove, told News18 with regard to timeline and companies that reached out to use this chip.

Mindgrove, however, does not only sell the chip but also offers design support to Indian brands, aiming to catalyze innovation and production scale-up within the country. It anticipates a significant shift towards self-sufficiency and global recognition in the semiconductor and electronics sector as Indian original equipment manufacturers (OEM) embrace Secure IoT.

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The startup also estimates that out of over a billion chips consumed annually in India, between 10 and 50 million could potentially be replaced by Secure IoT. “By using this Indian SoC, Indian OEMs no longer have to look outside our nation to source chips for their products. Secure IoT, which is estimated to cost 30 per cent less than other chips in the similar segment, will help OEMs reduce the cost of their feature-rich devices without compromising on high-end features,” Shashwath said.

Secure IoT has several characteristics, including a high number of inputs/outputs, important security algorithms implemented as hardware accelerators, secure boot, and on-chip one-time programmable memory. The chip is designed to be used with bare metal code or any microcontroller RTOS (real-time operating system), bringing new possibilities such as traffic control systems, autonomous cars, medical equipment, and so on.

The startup is incubated by IITM Pravartak Technologies Foundation and IIT Madras Incubation Cell, which helped them with the necessary resources and tools to get things started. According to Mindgrove, the chip has had a successful MPW (multi-project wafer) tape-out, the silicon industry term for prototyping, at the 28nm node, and reference boards will be available for OEMs to try out in the coming weeks. This makes it a cost-effective way for initial testing.

Bhaswati Guha Majumder

Bhaswati Guha Majumder, Senior Correspondent at News18, has been passionately co

EditedBy: Oindrila Mukherjee

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