Plugfest tests out I3C interface

April 28, 2017 //By Nick Flaherty
Test equipment makers have been part of the first plugfest for the new I3C sensor interface developed by the MIPI Alliance.

The plugest was held in Barcelona, Spain, last week and this was the first opportunity for early adopters of the new MIPI I3C sensor interface to perform interoperability testing of their designs for smartphones, IoT, automotive and other applications.

The plugfest included BitifEye Digital Test Solutions in Germany and Tektronix, highlighting the importance of interoperability testing early in the design cycle to ensure seamless functionality between devices and speed up time to market.

BitifEye in Böblingen provides test automation software called ValiFrame and protocol analysis tools. It spun out of Agilent Technolgies in 2005 and partners with Keysight Technologies for hardware.

“Plugfests are an essential step in the product development process because the testing and debugging activities take place in real-world system integration environments, helping companies ensure interoperability of their components, improve product quality, speed the development process and optimize the manufacturability of their designs,” said Ken Foust, chair of the MIPI Alliance Sensor Working Group.

The new bus interface, approved in January, can integrate mechanical, motion, biometric and environmental sensors using a combination of the traditional I2C and SPI interfaces, making it a difficult test challenge.

It uses standard CMOS I/O with a two-wire interface and can also be used as a sideband interface to further reduce pin count, supporting a minimum data rate of 10 Mbps with options for higher performance high data rate modes.

It also includes multi-master support, dynamic addressing and synchronous and asynchronous time-stamping, all of which can be difficult to test. It can also batch and transmit data quickly to minimize energy consumption of the host processor.

Companies testing four master devices and six slave devices during the event included chip makers Intel, Qualcomm, NXP, STMicroelectronics and Lattice Semiconductor, as well as design tool makers Silvaco and Synopsys and Japanese MEMS sensor maker Kionix (a ROHM subsidiary).

www.mipi.org