dinsdag 15 juli 2008

A Picowatt Processor

Pico power: This tiny processor, called the Phoenix, uses 90 percent less energy than the most efficient chip on the market today. It could enable implantable medical sensors powered by tiny batteries.

A Picowatt Processor
A low-power chip could be used for implantable medical sensors

Before long, sensors may be implanted in our bodies to do things like measure blood-glucose levels in diabetics or retinal pressure in glaucoma patients. But to be practical, they'll have to both be very small--as tiny as a grain of sand--and use long-lasting batteries of similarly small size, a combination not commercially available today.
Now researchers at the University of Michigan have made a processor that takes up just one millimeter square and whose power consumption is so low that emerging thin-film batteries of the same size could power it for 10 years or more, says David Blaauw, professor of electrical engineering and computer science at Michigan and one of the lead researchers on the project.
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