Chip Fun II

"... a historical and operational perspective on how these photographs are captured: laboratory engineers and technicians capture these images on a catch-as-catch-can basis... many of these photographs are years old and cannot be [easily] identified... the images were simply posted on a board and then [staff] went about the business at hand ..."
Integrated Circuit Engineering Corporation

These chip art images were made visible through lapping techniques, magnification and Polaroid capturing. Typically chips have a unique "signature" which we have come to recognize and expect to be logic, memory, gates, etc. However, these signatures are the designer's, the engineer's and in some cases a company logo.

They have left their mark in and for history. The chip collection is complemented with imagination which takes no space on a shelf, requires no conservation and cannot typically be exhibited.

NMAH Chip Art perhaps a rendition of an Alien

an icon of Japanese culture: the superhero Ultraman ( depicted in parodic, Super Deformed style)

Courtesy: Sanjuro Tsubaki 1.10.2011

NMAH Chip Art perhaps a Longhorn ATOM
"The Longhorn ATOM"
NMAH Chip Art perhaps a BIT sized hummingbird
"Hummingbird BIT"
NMAH Chip Art ca. 1990 LEI Flower by designer Leilani Tamura-MIPS R4400
ca. 1990 "LEI" Flower
by designer Leilani Tamura
MIPS Technologies
MIPS R4400

NMAH Chip Art ca. 1994 Fire Breathing Godzilla-Analog Devices 21msp50/55/56 DSP
ca. 1994 "Fire-Breathing Godzilla"
Analog Devices, Inc.
21msp50/55/56 Digital Ssignal Processors

NMAH Chip Art ca. 1994 Daffy Duck-MIPS R4400 microprocessor
ca. 1994 "Daffy Duck"
MIPS Technologies
MIPS R4400 Microprocessor
NMAH Chip Art General Electric logo
General Electric (logo)
NMAH Chip Art ca. 1995-97 Godzilla's Portrait-MIPS R10000 microprocessor
ca. 1995-97 "Godzilla's Portrait"
MIPS Technologies
MIPS R10000 Microprocessor
NMAH Chip Art ca. 1995 Hatchling Baby Dino -- Analog Devices 21msp59 DSP
ca. 1995 "Hatchling: Baby Dino"
Analog Devices
21msp59 DSP
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In 1996 after discovering the chip art within the Integrated Circuit Engineering Collection presented on our Chip Site we began searching our accumulated collection of exposed chips while collaborating with Michael W. Davidson, Ph.D. - Florida State University's Optical Microscopy at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory .

Several Smithsonian collected chips have been identified and professionally photographed by Dr. Davidson and his students over the years. This collaboration is an ongoing collection of high resolution photomicrographs (photographs taken through a microscope) featuring many of the interesting silicon creatures and other doodling scribbled onto integrated circuits by engineers when they were designing computer chip masks.

The majority of chip art photographed by Dr. Davidson remain part of the University's in-house collection. We wish to thank Dr. Davidson for his continuing efforts in assisting the Smithsonian with our own collection of hidden artwork we never knew existed.

(C) Silicon Zoo - Michael W. Davidson, FSU



National Museum of American History

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