Can you imagine a computer that is two square millimeters? If not, you got to know about this microcontroller manufactured by Freescale. Bringing computing experience anywhere, this small microcontroller KL02 has been invented to produce ingestible wireless computers which possess a processor and RAM.
It is considered as the first promising step in the creation of chips for the internet of things as this tiny ant-sized microchip contains all the parts of a computer. Internet of things is nothing but the representation of unique objects and their virtual figures in an internet-like structure. It is the latest technology in services and these services is closely related to the processing and sensors.
But for the technology to spread around the world, they must reduce its size, power consumption as well as should be available at a low price. To enable this, Freescale integrated various components like processors, memory, sensors, radios and antennas on a single chip placed along a circuit board.
“All these things need to come together and integrate heterogeneous but we have to figure out how these components can coexist without degrading its performance,” says Kaivan Karimi, Director of global strategy for Freescale micro-controllers.
Combination of sensors and other components will create complexities as each part will generate its own type of electronic noise that can intervene with the performance of the other components. It requires different types of minimal packing technologies than those which are being currently used.
The main challenge in the chip design is solid flash memory, similar to the one used in smart phones. It creates interference with the radio chips creating noise. To avoid this issue, Freescale developers have designed small Faraday cages round the memory to turn off the electronic noise.
Earlier, the company developed a technology known as redistributive chip packaging (RCP) which is used for years in defense systems capable of withstanding extreme heat and pressure. But the scientists claim that this present technology will shift for the use of consumer, automotive and industrial applications.
However, close packaging may not solve all the problems related to the creation of tiny computers. It also requires proper concentration on all the system components like sensors, wireless communications, data storage and energy conversion, and power consumption is one of the more specific difficulties. All these has to be properly handled in order to create a useful and portable micro system.
As the length of the computer is reduced, the volume also decreases its cubic form in turn decreasing the battery capacity. This is the problem that the developer is facing in the sensor design project. Freescale is working to overcome this problem and is putting efforts along with several partners to develop the energy harvesting components that can provide power for small devices.
The company sees profit in developing chips for new wave of sensors and other small computers that can send data to the Internet. The development of KL02 is based on a design by ARM which is considered as the most energy efficient microprocessor in the world.
The company is serious in enhancing the chip packaging technology and also other components that will enable the creation of many smaller computers. KL02 and other larger microcontroller with Zigbee or Bluetooth wireless transceiver will be offered by the company in the near future.