Forget your laptops, tablets, or smartphones. Recent research by Stanford University engineers has heralded the possible advent of a new age of gadgets: an entire computer built onto a single chip. The ambitious project is led by professors of electrical engineering Subhasish Mitra and H.S. Philip Wong, in collaboration with the CEA-LETI research institute in Grenoble, France.
On February 19, the prototype of the computer-on-a-chip was displayed at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference in San Francisco. This prototype utilizes a new data storage technology called Resistive Random Access Memory (RRAM), which enables the chip-computer to pack tons of data into a minuscule space with high energy efficiency. Additionally, the computer’s ultimate advantage lies in its ability to unite data storage and computation into one chip, allowing faster processing. Further testing is still required to improve the chip’s capabilities, such as its endurance, algorithms, wireless technology, and many other envisioned applications — but the team is getting there.