Complex Semiconductor Tester

Complex Semiconductor Tester


Overview: The company had developed a new hardware architecture that took the performance of ESD semiconductor testing a new level — resulting in a 768 pin high-speed tester.    The “new and improved” version would be 2304 pins.

Challenge:  How do we keep the complexity of the system from crushing the development and support teams?     Any changes in the previous system required extensive firmware and software changes.   The previous firmware was running on long obsolete hardware, and a 25 year old real-time OS that was ported from the Radio Shack CoCo.

My Role: I developed a  flexible, modular, firmware/software architecture.    Led firmware design, development and coordinated with other engineering disciplines.    Evaluated and selected technologies to be used.   Built prototypes to wring out design ideas.    Mentored co-workers company-wide to get them comfortable and bring them up to speed on new technologies.    Wrote drivers, configured and brought up RT Linux system, tweaked kernel, etc.

Result: The new product became a leader in the industry and helped the division grow from $12M to over $20M.     The firmware/software architecture became the basis for a line of very successful products.