Advanced multifunctional FIR filter device
Small digital ASIC replaces huge analogue board
Technologies used


Industrial sector (PRODCOM code)
    331 Precision Instruments - Medical and Surgical equipment
    323 Electronic components - Television and Radio Receivers, Sound or Video Recording etc
Esaote is an enterprise with 579 employees and a turnover of 124 MECU that, since 1950, develops, produces and markets non-invasive medical diagnostic systems. In ultrasound imaging, Esaote is the 9th manufacturer at world level (and 1st European) with 4.8% world market share in 1995. The Company is experienced in electronic project on both analogue and digital techniques using PCB and SMT; programmable devices are used in the company's products as well.
In 1996, Esaote planned to develop its first all-digital ultrasound system within following three years. One critical point of this project was availability of an high speed multifunctional digital filter, for the acquisition front-end, having same level of performance of existing one in analogue technology. Although the present filter could be considered well working, it required many components, space on board and power consumption. As well, it suffered of drift of the components in the long time period and the trimming activity was time consuming.
A new filter was conceived to be realised using digital technique; in particular, this very innovative filter was realised adopting the 0,7 m CMOS digital ASIC technology. It allowed to reach many results as a high integration level, high performance level (clock cycle @ 30 nsec, reconfigurability, decimation, one clock cycle multiplication, and more) and cost saving on components of 30% with respect to the old analogue solution. The project duration took 12 months, starting on 1/7/96 and finishing on 30/6/97; the cost of the project has been 88 KECU.
The new diagnostic ultrasound equipment is expected to produce an economical competitive advantage for the Company of 10% yearly increase in turnover for the next 3 years, instead of stationary or slow decreasing turnover as it would have been without the technological innovation. The payback period for invested money is foreseen in 12 months; the return of investment – ROI - evaluated for the ASIC prototype development only has the value of 614% in a period of 5 years (product lifetime).
Esaote got from this AE a specific ASIC design inner capability to be used in future applications to overcome actual restrictions of discrete logic, free from any economical and technological constraint due to an ASIC design committed outside. As first internal replication in the use of the new technology, an ASIC is now under development to replace, with higher economical benefits and efficiency improvements, the actual discrete logic devoted to manage function of ordering digital data acquired in an ultrasound system (the so-called FI-FO function). Future further application of ASIC technology will be the innovation of the ultrasound pulser section (with at least 3 ASICs to be integrated in a very complex and sophisticated MCM structure) or the upgrade of the receiving pre-amplification section (to be integrated directly with piezoelectric transducer and requiring an ASIC technology different from one employed with this AE).

The possible general interest for the developed filter from side of other customers leaded prototype manufacturer to get licence for sharing these results.
Via Siffredi 58
16158 GENOVA

Detailed information

You can also benefit from microelectronics

DIGITAL ASIC technology provided ESAOTE S.p.A. with the means of improving its products and enhancing its market position. You can also achieve significant benefits by acquiring the right microelectronics technology and utilising it in your product or manufacturing process. You can get help from FUSE to realise this.

FUSE is a technology transfer programme, funded by the European Commission to stimulate the wider use of microelectronics technologies by European enterprises to increase their competitiveness and enhance their economic growth. The demonstrator described here is one of many examples in the public FUSE portfolio covering the whole spectrum of microelectronics technologies and spanning a wide range of applications and industry sectors.

FUSE provides you with:

  • Best practice in acquiring specific microelectronics technologies and conducting full development projects through the FUSE portfolio of real life demonstrator documents.
  • Local training and expert support to plan your innovation realistically and help you conduct your project successfully.

Further information and support relating to this and other demonstrators can be obtained from the addresses below.

Further information   Guiding Technology Transfer Node
For further information and support regarding this case study, please contact a Technology Transfer Node (TTN) in your region.
Homepage: http://www.fuse-network.com
Via del Ferrone, 5
I-50124 Firenze