One of the biggest problems the team had to overcome was the variability that occurs in typical chip manufacturing. At lower voltage levels, variations and imperfections in the silicon chip become more problematic. Designing the chip to minimize its vulnerability to such variations is a big part of our strategy, Chandrakasan says.
So far the new chip is a proof of concept. Commercial applications could become available in five years, maybe even sooner, in a number of exciting areas, Chandrakasan says. For example, portable and implantable medical devices, portable communications devices and networking devices could be based on such chips, and thus have greatly increased operating times. There may also be a variety of military applications in the production of tiny, self-contained sensor networks that could be dispersed in a battlefield.
In some applications, such as implantable medical devices, the goal is to make the power requirements so low that they could be powered by ambient energy, Chandrakasan says-using the body's own heat or movement to provide all the needed power. In addition, the technology could be suitable for body area networks or wirelessly enabled body sensor networks.
Together, TI and MIT have pioneered many advances that lower power in electronic devices, and we are proud to be part of this revolutionary, world-class university research, said Dr. Dennis Buss, chief scientist at Texas Instruments. These design techniques show great potential for TI future low-power integrated circuit products and applications including wireless terminals, battery-operated instrumentation, sensor networks and medical electronics.
|Contact: Elizabeth Thomson|
Massachusetts Institute of Technology