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Modular Microsystems with Embedded Components
Keywords: Embedding, Modular, Microsystem
Each system is designed to fulfill the desired purpose. It is defined by its inputs, outputs, structure, environment, boundary, and the including elements (subsystems). Due to the ongoing miniaturization and integration the complexity of subsystems increases continuously. This paper is intended to demonstrate the build-up of modular Microsystems. By using the embedding technology, each subsystem (module) is interchangeable and stackable. Therefore, the functionality of the entire system depends solely on the selected modules. Moreover, the enhancement, expansion or redesign can be accomplished by replacing existing or adding new modules. The communication between the individual modules is based on the standardized I²C bus. Additionally, a USB interface has been implemented to manage the data transmission between the embedded camera module and a computer. The whole system recognizes each module and performs accordingly. The camera module, which has the highest complexity within this developed Microsystem (16x16 mm²), contains a lens, an image sensor with embedded ISP (Image Signal Processing), an ICP (Image Cognition Processor), some flash memory, different DC/DC converters, LEDs, and some passive components. Additional modules include features like hall sensor, accelerometer, and temperature sensor. The user can access the sensor values, watch the video stream, and change the parameters of each module via a GUI (Graphical User Interface) on his computer. To achieve the build-up of the modular Microsystems we only used packaged active and passive components. Depending on the complexity of each module a core of up to eight layers is build up. The components are then soldered onto both sides of the core. At this point the components are embedded using a laminating press. The afterwards even surface is then structured again, to enable the stacking of the modules. Each step of the entire assembly process is done via state of the art circuit board processing technologies, including laser drill and laser-direct imaging.
Christian Boehme,
Fraunhofer IZM / TUB
Berlin, Berlin

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