This is a video describing the phenomenon of On-Chip antennas and the technological shift that they may enable in the near future. This is a class project for Rice University’s ELEC 305. Thanks to Julia, Spencer, and Evan; music used by permission by Bryce Hample. The song is Libra, the self-titled track off of his album as Hedia.

Internet of Things PCB ways to care for Startups

Since IoT appliances are so fresh new, you would think that getting an IoT printed circuit board (PCB) project off the ground starts by reinventing the wheel and undergoing a lots of technical trouble. That is definitely incorrect.
But it doesn’t imply IoT startups have a certain way to stardom. Facing them is quite a few design and manufacturing concerns that are different to these small products. These concerns need to be thought about for the new IoT device to gain success.

On the plus side, it’s very important for IoT startups to know that the foundation for a successful cool product does exist. This simply means experience and knowledge relating to the design, fabrication and assembly of these types of state-of-the-art products are readily available. Additionally, the most sage advice is for discreet IoT product business men and creators to heed the counsel that expert electronics manufacturing services or EMS companies have to offer. These companies along with their engineering staffs already have practiced the task with groundbreaking IoT companies in Silicon Valley participating in the initial phases of this growing segment.

The PCB of an IoT device is a different beast than the traditional one, which is greatly larger and flat. IoT products, in comparison, are comprised mostly of either rigid-flex or flex circuit assemblies, which come with their own categories of design layout, fabrication and assembly concerns and subtleties.


A top consideration is to look for knowledgeable designers who’ve completed loads of rigid-flex PCB designs. PCB space for an IoT device is tight. So you’d like the designer to have directly layout practical experience to proficiently design critical elements on that limited room.

Aside from that, most IoT products are not fixed; they have sizeable movement and rotating. Here, the knowledgeable designer plays a key role in determining bend ratios and lifecycle iterations as a significant part of a design. Other critical design layout concerns contain signal trace thickness, number of rigid and flex circuit layers, copper weight and stiffener placement. Stiffeners are utilized on flex circuits to reassure elements installed on the flex circuit continue to be tightly constantly in place to stop movement.

One additional thing to consider is through-hole element placement in rigid-flex circuits. Why’s that critical? The majority of IoT products are founded upon surface mount device placement. Yet , there could be through-hole elements, which are typically put on either the rigid section or the flex area of the board. Through-hole elements are in general helpful to communicate input/output or I/O signals to the outside world. Doing this, those signals can be exhibited employing an LCD or LED monitor. Through-hole element placement is an essential consideration in an IoT item as when applied to the flex part of the board, appropriate stiffeners have to be designed and applied for effective assembly.

Last of all in the layout category, the high temperature that elements generate must be deemed. IoT products are getting more difficult with rigid-flex and flex circuits featuring as many as 12 – 14 layers. Several products are digital. Yet , more and more analog devices are getting used in IoT devices. Analog circuitry causes a great deal more heat than digital ones. That means heat expansion and also contraction rate should be evaluated. In tech lingo, it is generally known as the Coefficient of Thermal Expansion or CTE and the proper remedy for it.


Finding the right fabricator is critical and is linked to the EMS firm you’ve picked. The fabricator you like should have IoT PCB fabrication practical experience. Among critical concerns here are insuring intense adhesions in between layers on both rigid and flex circuit sides, bearing in mind all the critical calculations and having a strong know-how about when current moves from the rigid side to the flex side.

Such fabricators also have to have an in-depth understanding of incredibly little parts including 0201 as well as 00105 device packages, package-on-package, and the employment of fine-pitch ball-grid array or BGA packaged devices.

Furthermore they must have experience with designing boards with fairly tight tolerances in terms of footprint for those sorts of BGA devices, in terms of up-to-date capabilities like laser direct imaging for putting the solder mask on the board. They ought to have laser drills for via drilling with sizes of 5 mils or under because these IoT products could be so little that a regular drill size of 5 to 8 mils probably won’t be all you need. They could have to go to a 3 mil, meaning that you have to have an state-of-the-art laser drilling capability on-site.

If you are placing via-in-pad, it is a fantastic way to use the small land which is available on the rigid-flex board, yet it presents trouble for assembly. If vias are not fully planar or flat in shape, it becomes tricky during the assembly of those tiny BGA packaged devices. The reason being that non-planar surfaces can easily threaten the integrity of solder joints.

Sometimes via in pads leave bumps in cases where they’re not scrubbed appropriately after adding the vias and gold finish at the top. If there are bumps, then the solder joints in the assembly for those tiny BGA balls in those IoT devices wouldn’t be a perfect joint. It might create occasional connections, which can be a bigger issue to treat and repair. It all boils down to which EMS firm you’re working with because they’re the ones who will choose the fabrication factory to make a profitable IoT item for you.

PCB Assembly

It’s crucial to look at knowledgeable EMS companies that have successfully assembled IoT and wearable PCBs since they have special tooling and fixtures already existing, which are necessary for assembly in order to guarantee components are placed appropriately, precisely and the printing is carried out correctly.

Printing can be a problem for IoT devices. If it’s a rigid-flex board, then you will find a change between thicknesses of the rigid and flex circuit portions, which suggests a special fixture is required to keep the complete rigid-flex board planar or completely flat to permit effective printing to be reached.

Startups should really be geared up to decide on the most suitable manufacturing partners and EMS companies. In this manner they can ensure they have ample experience in advance to get the multitude of design, fabrication and assembly details efficiently performed since they are essential to a triumphant and on time IoT product launch.