Intel Next Aim Self-Powered Sensors And Microchips

Intel is trying to develop a self powered microchip that can be placed in a mobile phone, a building, or anywhere, I mean even in an human body, where people wants to gather information.

Device is known as WISP(wireless identification and sensing platform) it works over several technologies described by Intel CTO Justin Rattner on Friday during a meeting with reporters in San Francisco. Currently most of the technologies discussed are in developing phase in Intel labs and will not ship out at least three to five years from now!

Main focus is to design devices to be energy-efficient. The WISP sensors would use Intel technology to draw power from the environment. "These are install-and-forget kind of systems," Rattner said.

The power would come from wireless transmissions used this days such as Wi-Fi hotspot, a TV broadcast, or a cellular tower, by this sensors can work continuously to gather information no matter in what environment device is been used.

In an planned experiment setup by Intel in San Francisco, sensors were planted in street sweepers which were used to monitor air quality all over the city.

"We could, in fact, litter the planet with these things," he said. "Rather than depend on satellite information, we could literally get instantaneous, near-global indication of the state of the planet."

Intel believe their self-powered sensors could one day implant in human body to track health-related activity like monitoring heart beats on patients. Moving towards molecular level, Intel believe, if researches could shrink detectors as much as a molecule size or in other words Nano-technology, then one day be capable of detecting viruses in the environment to determine the potential health risk. Not only this it will turn face of medical science too.

Other use of sensors can be implement in data centers to map the heat level of the different system in oder to create a "thermally aware load management" system, Ratter said. This could help systems to shift their load to idle systems, in order to lower its overall temperature, which would lower the demand on cooling system, that means more Eco-friendly system.

Along with sensors, Intel labs in experimenting with of microchips to be more green, researchers are trying to to built chips which could gather energy from other sources, such as the sun or the movement of a trackball in a smartphone, to recharge a battery in a mobile device.

"Wouldn't it be nice if you could go almost indefinitely without recharging the battery?" Rattner said.

According to Intel, sensor technology "might turn into a business opportunity" in the future, Rattner said.

Intel is building power management within a microchip, so power levels could be adjusted microsecond by microsecond in following the fluctuations in energy needed to power CPUs or modules within a chipset, Rattner said. Today, power levels have to be kept higher than needed during light workloads to make sure enough energy is available to meet sudden demands for processing power.

Moving power management from software to hardware within a computer would improve energy efficiency during light workloads to 70% from 10% today, Rattner said.


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