A new chip design has been created by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), claimed to be 10 times more energy efficient than the processors currently used in mobile devices.
The new design, unveiled at the International Solid State Circuits Conference in San Francisco, is intended for use in portable electronics, such as cell phones, PDAs and even implantable medical devices.
The MIT researchers worked on the chip design project along with a team from Texas Instruments Inc. The project was funded in part by a grant from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
The key to the improved energy efficiency lies in making the planned chips work at a reduced voltage level, according to a report by Joyce Kwong, a graduate student in MIT's Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and a member of the chip design project team.
Most of the mobile processors now in use operate at about 1 volt, according to Kwong's report. But MIT's new design only requires 0.3 volts, the report said.
Kwong's report said that the new chip design is in the proof-of-concept stage, with researchers at MIT predicting that it could become available "in five years, maybe even sooner."
In the 1960s and early 1970s, an average computer chip used about 12 volts. Ten years ago, that number was down to five volts, and it only dropped down to one to two volts within the past three years.
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