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ARM creates chip for the IoT

British microchip design firm, Arm Holdings, has unveiled an ultra-low-power chip designed to help devices - such as washing machines, portable medical equipment and smart cars - connect wirelessly to the internet of things (IoT).

The company announced, on Tuesday, that it had created the world’s most efficient design for a microprocessor design, a chip capable of operating at the same kind level as those used in smartphones, but needing just a third of the electrical power of an 8-bit microprocessor.

The size of the chips, which ARM has named “Flycatcher”, is a mere 1mm square and they are able to run off a small battery for very long periods of time. This means they can be embedded in products such as blood pressure monitors and transmit information wirelessly to doctors or hospitals.

ARM, already a leader in the mobile phone sector, said the chips are likely to sell for about 13p to 20p per unit, from which it would gain a 1-2 per cent profit. The volume of chips it expects to sell is likely to make even this small percentage a potentially valuable revenue stream for Arm and two semiconductor manufacturers, NXP and Freescale, have already licensed the design.

"It opens up all devices to the potential of being connected all the time," Freescale's Geoff Lees told the BBC.

"It's allowing us to provide connectivity everywhere. So anything from consumer appliances, MP3-music audio docks, kitchen equipment with displays right through to remote sensors in rain monitoring equipment or personal medical devices - an area where ultra-long battery life allied to high performance and safety is becoming more and more important."

ARM is not the only ultra low-power chip designer in the market:  Microchip Technology and Atmel in the US, are also developing chips with similar capabilities. 

Ericsson, the telecoms equipment company, recently forecast that there would be about 50bn connected devices by 2020, a increase of from 5bn in 2010.

 

Related posts: Can China crack the Internet of Things?

                            Google X and the Internet of Thngs

 

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