One of the main themes of last week’s MEMS Executive Congress was to “think outside the chip” (Roger Grace, of Roger Grace Associates) and rather, think of MEMS in terms of the system.  However, to do that, there needs to be interaction between everyone involved in developing said system, including the MEMS designer, IC designer, the system architecture and the firmware that ties it all together.

According to Mike Jamiolkowski, CEO, Coventor, supplier of software for MEMS developers, the company has taken on this task and announced the release of MEMS + 2.0, that includes tight integration and simulation within Mathworks’ Simulink environment.  Building on the company’s existing integration with Virtuoso® IC design system from Cadence Design Systems, this expanded version is expected to provide designers an integrated environment for incorporating MEMS into traditional IC and system-on-chip (SoC) design methodologies.

The demand for MEMS is changing, and there needs to be democratization, which causes a shift in business growth, noted Jamiolkowski.  He talked about getting away from “black art design” and lowering barriers to make MEMS more accessible to more companies. Additionally, it’s important to understand that MEMS and ICs can be integrated. “There’s been a disconnect between MEMS and IC engineers, with minimal design reuse happening in the process,” he noted.  “The simulation of the whole product is becoming more important as integration and functionality increases.  More verification by simulation will be needed.”

Unfortunately, there was no integration between MEMS and IC designs and therefore no way to feed back information. So Coventor has developed a MEMS + IC approach intended to  improve simulation performance within the Cadence environment and expand the library of 3D MEMS building blocks available to enable a wider variety of MEMS-based applications. Additional features in the tool’s user interface improve the ease of design creation and re-use within the solution as well. As a result, system architects can incorporate MEMS in algorithmic-level simulations that span software, firmware, digital logic and analog circuits, while IC designers can incorporate MEMS in implementation-level simulations as well as physical design. Through the integration, all groups work from a single MEMS design representation in MEMS+.

Jamiolkowski says this latest release realizes Coventor’s goal of developing a a structured methodology that is familiar to traditional IC designers and allow them to easily incorporate MEMS devices into their flows, in addition to making the MEMS+ tool more accessible to MEMS designers while adding an important system-level capability.

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