Mixed and Interface Circuits
Most of the sensor interface and instrument inputs are analog; even if it event based like a limit switch, analog circuit protection and signal conditioning is required before it reaches the level sensitive digital circuit blocks.
Starting with Schmitt triggers and to the VCO and A-D Converters, are grades of Mixed Circuits. I feel Comparators like LM339, Timers like the 555 and Phase Locked Loop PLL are fundamental mixed circuits as they have a analog voltage detection.
DSP and uC with built in A-D or D-A or even SOC are Public ASICs and Fall in the Embedded Systems Block. Public ASICs are not user specific, they can be branded, numbered and provided with Application notes for the use of the Design Departments of any firm. User Specific ASICs are custom built and have only an application with that manufacturer for a Specific Product type. This also protects the IP of Code and Device Design.
Custom ASICs are limited to the Platform and Technologies for which they were designed. Then we have programmable and configurable chips other than uC for logic like PLD, CPLD, FPGA and SOC, there is even some talk of mixed or analog configurable chips.
It would be nice if they made a breadboard chip with 12 opamps, 24 comparators, Some PLD and a couple of uC. Then we certainly need software trimmable or tweakable Resistors and Trimpots. This is the Magnum Opus of EDA. A EDA Chip Printer may be coming soon ! (Affordable by small firms).
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