Arm Flycatcher chips aim for “years” of battery time

Mar 13, 2012
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The Arm Holdings group have revealed this week their newest bit of architecture for microcontrollers based on their "Flycatcher" design, noting that this new technology will, amongst other things, offer "years of life from a single battery-pack." This new architecture will have one third less energy draw than its predecessors, they only offered with 8 and 16-bit capabilities while Arm's newest chip is capable of 32-bit processing. These bits of futuristic technology built with Cortex -M0+ architecture will have chip-makers building microprocessors with fabulously advanced capabilities at the same time as requiring what they say is "ultra low power."

Arm is describing this technology as ready soon for medical equipment, refrigerators, and energy meters as well as office lighting, toasters, and mobile devices. The technology described here has been licensed already by two firms already: NXP Semiconductors and Freescale, Geoff Lees of Freescale noting the following about the technology in its soon to be life state:

"It opens up all devices to the potential of being connected all the time. 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." - Lees

Arm notes that they've created processor cores measuring an incredibly small 1mm by 1mm in size, this widening the possibilities for this technology further than ever. Best of all is this technology's ability to utilize power effectively, it being a low leakage part, consuming almost no power when in sleep mode. Arm noted that in addition to being able to offer wireless connectivity when pared with bluetooth or radio equipment, this technology is able to offer years of life from a single battery-pack where before similar tech only offered months.

As Arm's director of embedded marketing Gary Atkinson said,

"Every developed nation country has a graph showing electricity demand is going to outstrip supply at some point in the next 20 years unless we do something different. … If the wider electricity network is being very heavily used and if the element in your dishwasher could go off for two or three minutes to alleviate that - well then that would make a big difference." - Atkinson

If Arm's claims align with reality the way they say they do, we'll be seeing a whole lot less cash on our energy bills in the near future. Can't wait for that!

[via BBC]


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