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Chips

As electronic devices are becoming outdated at an increasingly fast pace, e-waste continues to be a huge problem. That's why scientists from the University of Wisconsin-Madison have started producing "wooden" semiconductor chips that could almost entirely biodegrade once left in a landfill. As an added bonus, the chips are also flexible, making them prime candidates for use in flexible electronics.

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Researchers at Stanford University have developed a new way to safely transfer energy to tiny medical devices implanted deep inside the human body. The advance could lead to the development of tiny "electroceutical" devices that can be implanted near nerve bundles, heart or brain tissue and stimulate them directly when needed, treating diseases using electronics rather than drugs. Read More
Intel has announced a number of new chips, including the fifth generation Intel Core "Broadwell" and the fourth generation Intel Core "Devil's Canyon." The company also presented its new Ready Mode Technology and demonstrated a portable All-in-One computer. The announcements are all part Intel's claim that it is "reinventing the desktop." Read More
Want to get your computer to run faster? Well, consider its graphics processing unit (GPU) and central processing unit (CPU). The two work away at their own tasks, each one rarely helping the other shoulder its workload. Researchers from North Carolina State University, however, are in the process of changing that. They have already developed a technique that allows GPUs and CPUs located on a single chip to collaborate on tasks, and it has resulted in a processing speed increase of over 20 percent. Read More
In April, the University of Southern California made the headlines when it announced that researchers there had created a functioning synthetic synapse circuit using carbon nanotubes. Well, today IBM unveiled a new class of experimental computer chips that are designed to emulate the human brain’s abilities for perception, action and cognition. According to the company, “The technology could yield many orders of magnitude less power consumption and space than used in today’s computers.” Read More
A couple of weeks ago, NVIDIA released the GeForce GTX 580M laptop GPU, claiming it was the fastest graphics chip on the market. AMD has just unveiled a quick response, in the form of its Radeon HD 6990M GPU for laptops. The new graphics chip outpaces "any other announced notebook enthusiast GPU" by 25 percent, according to the Sunnyvale-based chipmaker. Read More
Scientists from IBM Research – Zurich are claiming a world-first, for their recent demonstration of “reliable multi-bit phase-change memory [PCM] technology.” PCM involves the use of materials that change between crystalline and amorphous states, the two states having different levels of electrical resistance – data is stored in a binary fashion, using one level to represent a 0, and the other to represent a 1. By applying new techniques to existing PCM technology, the researchers were reportedly able to write and retrieve data 100 times faster than is possible with Flash. Read More
As chips continue to get smaller, the technological possibilities just get larger. One of the trade-offs of miniaturization, however, is that smaller things are also often more fragile and less dependable. Anticipating a point at which chips will become too tiny to maintain their current level of resilience, a team of four companies and two universities in The Netherlands, Germany, and Finland have created what they say could be the solution – a chip that monitors its own performance, and redirects tasks as needed. Read More
The miniaturization of electronics has seen the wiring of connections between chips and circuit boards become a substantial obstacle. Such connections are traditionally made from pre-fabricated metal wires that connect to a designated bonding pad on a chip. However, many microelectronic devices are much smaller than the required 50-by-50 micron square bonding site, prohibiting integrated functions on a very small scale. Engineers at the University of Illinois have now developed a novel direct-writing method for manufacturing metal interconnects that could enable the further shrinking of integrated circuits and expand microelectronics. Read More
During the keynote address at the Intel Developer Forum recently held in San Francisco, Intel CEO Paul Otellini displayed a silicon wafer containing the world's first working chips featuring 22nm transistor technology, which include both densely packed SRAM memory and logic circuits to be used in future Intel microprocessors. Read More
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