Internet of Things (IoT) is being touted as the next wave that will drive the semiconductor market. Our industry is paving the way to supporting smart cities, home automation, connected vehicles, healthcare/health monitoring and much more. The evolution to the connected world is changing the way semiconductor manufacturers look at their device manufacturing processes. Cost pressures, technology integration/packaging, and product mix will directly impact the back end processing of IoT devices.
A “typical” IoT edge node device is made up of three main components: a sensor, processing capability and wireless communication. The sensor devices have a drastic impact on back end processing. The input stimulus to these sensors is no longer an electrical signal. This is replaced with requirements that include pressure, inertia, chemical (gas), light, sound, radar…. The processing technology is a microcontroller that needs to have ultra-low power requirements, mixed signal integration, integrated memory in a small and inexpensive package. The last item is wireless communication to transfer the captured data to the cloud or other smart device. This communication must be secure and low-power. There are competing standards in the market address this.
The technology requirements plus the business challenges of this market will lead to changes in the back end processing of devices.
First off, the test will need to address the technical requirements of the IoT market. Transaction based test patterns (protocol aware) test methodology, mixed signal, RF, concurrent test capability is required. All this capability must be available is with the ability to test in high multi-site at a low cost of test.
Handling solutions no longer just needs to present the device to the test system. It needs to have the ability to stimulate the device. There is a wide range of stimulus that needs to be applied to the device during test including, sound (MEM’s microphone), pressure (barometric), rotation/acceleration (6 DOF), magnetism (compass), chemical (gas)…. Other handling challenges include testing of WLCSP devices, very small packages (less than 2mm X 2mm), and need to high multi-site to address high volume.
This is an evolving industry. Back end solutions must also be flexible to address changes as the market expands. There will be many different devices (high mix) so development time for these complex devices will need to be minimized. All this capability will need to be provided to allow a very low cost of test.