Soft silicon device Rica validated and funded

Tuesday 15th April 2008

Founded in 2004, this month Spiral Gateway produced its fully functional and validated samples of its Reconfigurable Instruction Cell Array (Rica) test chips. It has now raised £730,000 in a third funding round led by Braveheart, with Bank of Scotland and Scottish Enterprise participating, along with the technology transfer company, Imperial Innovations based at Imperial College, London.

In June last year, Braveheart invested £320,000 in Spiral Gateway via its Alpha EIS Fund, whose other investors include the Bank of Scotland and Scottish Enterprise - both of whom also took part in the latest round, along with Imperial Innovations, the technology transfer company based at Imperial College, London.

Spiral Gateway is a fabless semiconductor chip vendor with products that offer new levels of flexibility and performance to a key segment of the Image Signal Processing (ISP) market.  As resolutions increase and algorithmic complexity rises, conventional processor architectures cannot keep pace. ASIC technology can offer solutions, but a new ASIC  takes 18 months to bring to market, is expensive, and can be obsoleted the day it ships.

Rica, being a reconfigurable silicon device programmed at an algorithmic level in C, needs only an open source C compiler and allows any existing or new C code to load straight onto the device,  offering a fully programmable solution with ASIC-style device performance, power consumption and pricing.

"This gives us great confidence of delivering a disruptive solution to the ISP market with first full product prototypes later this year,”  commented Spiral Gateway’s CEO, Graham Townsend.

The chip was developed and manufactured in partnership with the University of Edinburgh, which has agreed a license for the exclusive rights to Rica.  The partnership allows the company access to lead technologists, tool flows and fabrication partners.


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