Chips Going For The Green?

In the “green” world of 2008, “energy-efficient” is getting the buzz for the chip industry.

Earlier this month, MIT and Texas Instruments showed a preliminary chip for portable devices that uses 10 times less energy than those chips used today.

According to a [release]( from the two parties, the chip could go commercial in five years. MIT graduate student Joyce Kwong exhibited the chip in San Francisco on Feb. 5 at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference.

According to the report, applications for the chip include implantable medical devices, wireless terminals, battery-operated instrumentation, sensor networks and medical electronics.

What was most interesting about this announcement was that the chips might require only “ambient energy” in the future, relying on heat from the body.

Although this referred to medical devices, imagine BlackBerries and Trios running on heat from the human body in the future and not needing a charge. Far-fetched? Maybe.

“The methodology developed in this chip is generic and can be applied to
any portable battery-operated device,” said Anantha P. Chandrakasan, a professor at MIT and a collaborator in the project.

She mentioned specifically the circuitry to do video decoding on a cell phone or the circuitry for radio signal processing.

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