September 18, 2021

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Flexible Computer Processor is the Most Powerful Plastic Chip Yet

Flexible Computer Processor is the Most Powerful Plastic Chip Yet
Could a flexible processor stuck on your produce track the freshness of your cantaloupe? That’s the idea behind the latest processor from UK computer chip designer Arm, which says such a device could be manufactured for pennies by printing circuits directly onto paper, cardboard or cloth. From a report: The technology could give trillions of everyday items such as clothes and food containers the ability to collect, process and transmit data across the internet — something that could be as convenient for retailers as it is concerning for privacy advocates.

In recent decades, processors have reduced in size and price to the point that they are now commonly used in everything from televisions to washing machines and watches. But almost all chips manufactured today are rigid devices created on silicon wafers in highly specialised and costly factories where dozens of complex chemical and mechanical processes take up to eight weeks from start to finish. Now, Arm has developed a 32-bit processor called PlasticARM with circuits and components that are printed onto a plastic substrate, just as a printer deposits ink on paper. James Myers at Arm says the processor can run a variety of programs, although it currently uses read-only memory so is only able to execute the code it was built with. Future versions will use fully programmable and flexible memory.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.