The future is all about computers conquering the world. Well, not exactly, but computers will be present in all walks of our life. We are already so much dependent on computers, and not to mention smartphones because they are computers as well. Computers are getting smaller day by day, and mobile computing has just got tinier. Freescale has made the world’s smallest ARM-based chip.
Freescale Semiconductor, Inc. is a well-known company and is popular for producing and designing embedded hardware. According to reports, over 17 billion semiconductor chips manufactured by freescale are in use around the world. The company has over 6,100 patents to its name, and their latest product will just blow your mind off. It’s the Kinetis KL02 and as said before, it is the world’s smallest computer processor chip. The chip measures just 1.9mm by 2.2mm, which is very tiny.
It should be noted that Kinetis KL02 is a full microcontroller unit, which basically means that it is a processor with RAM, ROM clock and I/O control units, making it a full-fledged computer. With a 48MHz 32-bit processor, 4KB of RAM and 32KB of internal storage, it may not be the most powerful computer you’ve come across, but it sure is the tiniest, and the market it is aiming for, the specs are very sufficient. This super tiny chip is supposed to be swallowed and be inside your body!
“We are working with our customers and partners on providing technology for their products that can be swallowed but we can’t really comment on unannounced products,” says Steve Tateosian, global product marketing manager for Freescale.
“We come across hundreds of [microcontrollers] embedded in the devices we use throughout the day,” says Tateosian. “For example, you may come across them when your alarm wakes you up, you brush your teeth, make your coffee, unlock your car door, open your garage, put down the car window, pay the parking meter, tell the time on your watch, measure your heart rate, distance, and pace. While running you may listen to your music player with several controllers inside, including in the ear buds themselves.”
The ways in which we can use this chip is endless. The chip also has 12-bit analog to digital converter and a low-power UART built in, so the manufacturers using this chip can shrink their designs resulting in smaller boards and tiny devices. Freescale products are already used in several health equipments. The Fitbit and OmniPod insulin pump use Freescale chips. This chip could probably end up inside our digestive tracts in the near future.
The chip will surely be implemented in several applications, and what’s interesting is that it costs only 75 cents apiece, making it a very cheap solution. Soon there will be a new generation of devices designed to monitor your internal health or release drugs and medicine from within your body. Also, such devices could possibly find use in pipes that will detect where the leakage is. The opportunities are infinite for this chip.
What are your thoughts?