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New TI, MIT Chip Design Could Make Cell Phones More Energy Efficient.

ENERGY RESOURCE-4 February 2008-New TI, MIT Chip Design Could Make Cell Phones More Energy Efficient(C)2008 JeraOne - http://www.jeraone.com

Researchers at MIT and Texas Instruments have unveiled a new chip design for portable electronics, including cell phones and implantable medical devices, that could be up to 10 times more energy-efficient than present technology.

Joyce Kwong, a graduate student in MIT's Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS), will present the design Feb. 5 at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) in San Francisco.

The key to the improvement in energy efficiency was to find ways of making the circuits on the chip work at a voltage level much lower than usual, according to Chandrakasan, who worked on the project with MIT colleagues Professor Anantha Chandrakasan, the Joseph F. and Nancy P. Keithley Professor of Electrical Engineering, and EECS graduate students Yogesh Ramadass and Naveen Verma.

While most current chips operate at around 1 volt, the new design works at just 0.3 volts.

The team demonstrated the ultra-low power design techniques on TI's MSP430, a widely used microcontroller. The work was conducted at the MIT Microsystems Technology Laboratories, which Chandrakasan directs.

The new chip is currently a proof of concept. Commercial applications could become available "in five years in a number of exciting areas," Chandrakasan said, adding that portable and implantable medical devices, portable communications devices and networking devices could be based on such chips and 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.

"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 IC products and applications including wireless terminals, RFID, battery-operated instrumentation, sensor networks, medical electronics and many others."

The research was funded in part by a grant from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

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Date:Feb 4, 2008
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