Electronic Design
Mining Chipworks for Data Gold

Mining Chipworks for Data Gold

Fig. 11. Chipworks creates a set of database entries for products it analysis such as this breakdown of components within a drone.

 

Chipworks has opened its vault of teardown research, for a fee. Known as Inside Technology, the subscription-based service provides access to the plethora of data compiled by Chipworks over the years, including its ongoing analysis of the latest technology ranging from smartphones to quadcopters. Its current database covers more than 16,000 devices.

Many have read the online reports that Chipworks posts regularly. We have highlighted many over the years, including Sony’s Playstation 4. The analysis is extensive, taking a look not only at the system construction and basics, but also x-rays of chips and circuit boards to reveal otherwise-hidden details.

Inside Technology provides access to the underlying data used in these articles, including information that is often not included in the public articles. The data is also structured, and this information can be presented graphically via a web-based interface—e.g., the parts used within a popular drone (Fig. 1). Users can navigate the structural diagrams and click on items to drill down for more details.

Fig. 22. Chipworks often has extensive information about chips that will not be found in a spec sheet.

 

For example, Chipworks often does more than just present the chip number or code. It does provide details about a chip’s functionality but this is often available in spec sheets for the part. For many parts, Chipworks has more information, such as x-rays of packages and wiring (Fig. 2).

The system lets users navigate the array of relationships between devices and their components. For example, it is often useful to know what other products particular chips are used in (Fig. 3). Users can then determine if other chips within the collection are found with other, similar products.

Fig. 33. It is often useful to know what other products particular chips are used in.

 

Of course, the Inside Technology interface provides a number of different ways to find related chips, including the common user filtering interface (Fig. 4) found on chip vendors sites and other commerce-related sites from Digi-Key to NewEgg.

Chipworks’ analytical data can be useful in designing competing or similar products, as well as finding possible sources for technology in new applications. It can also be used for other purposes such as competitive and patent intelligence. This can be used by law firms or non-practicing entities (NPEs) interested in finding companies that might be interested in licensing technology. It can also be used to find prior art.

Fig. 44. The Inside Technology interface provides a number of different ways to find related chips, including the common user filtering interface.

 

These days, product design is complex, potentially involving considerations that range from component availability to patent licensing. Understanding who is winning sockets with their devices can highlight markets worth entering or investing in. Chipworks has hundreds of reports, sometimes including detailed schematics.

Inside Technology is definitely not for the casual reader of Chipworks articles or reports, but it can be an invaluable tool for small and large companies interested in an edge when it comes to new products or markets. Its use may be part of a larger contract that includes creation of a report about a particular set of products, which would then be linked to the other information in Chipworks’ database.

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