A Picowatt Processor

July 8, 2008 | Source: Technology Review

University of Michigan have made a processor (the Phoenix) that measures just one millimeter square with a power consumption so low (2.8 picojoules of energy per computing cycle) that emerging thin-film batteries of the same size could power it for 10 years or more.

At this scale, it could be feasible to build the chip into a thick contact lens and use it to monitor pressure in the eye, which would be useful for glaucoma detection. It could also be implanted under the skin to sense glucose levels in subcutaneous fluid. It could also be used in environmental sensors that monitor pollution, or structural health sensors, for instance.