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October 31, 2011

ARM CTO predicts chips the size of blood cells

Techworld - In less than a decade, that smartphone you're holding could have 32 times the memory, 20 times the bandwidth and a microprocessor core no bigger than a red blood cell, the CTO of chip design company ARM said on Thursday.

ARM has already helped develop a prototype, implantable device for monitoring eye-pressure in glaucoma patients that measures just 1 cubic millimeter




The device includes a microprocessor sandwiched between sensors at the top and a battery at the bottom.

Strip away those extra components, rearrange the transistors into a cube and apply the type of advanced manufacturing process expected in 2020, and you'd end up with a device that occupies about the same volume as a blood cell.

The bandwidth gains in 2020 will come mostly from advances in topology, according to Muller -- basically increasing the number of cellular base stations. Spectrum, and the technologies used to send bits across that spectrum, won't advance much, he predicted.

That's okay for people in cities, where it can make financial sense to install more base stations. "If you're out in the middle of nowhere, I'm sorry, there's not going to be much big change for you," Muller said.

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