Low-volt chip for longer cell phone battery life

Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

batteries of mobile phones may now last longer. The circuits, which draw power from batteries, currently run at around 1 volt. Scientists have come up with a technology that will allow circuits to function at 0.3 V, resulting in less power being drawn.

The circuit, also called chips, consists of memory and logic gates. Memory helps store information digitally and logic gates help rapid transmission of information. Power from the batteries helps circuits get activated so that they can transmit information. The researchers have added a convertor to the new circuit they have developed.

"The circuit had to be redesigned for the purpose so that memory and logic, along with the converter, are integrated to realize a complete system," said Anantha Chandrakasan, professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Chandrakasan helped a graduate student develop the technology, which they presented at the International Solid State Circuits Conference, San Francisco, on February 5.

The hurdles that the researchers faced while designing the chip were variations and imperfections. At lower voltage variations, imperfections become more prominent and hence more problematic but they were able to overcome the problems, they say. "Designing the chip to minimize its vulnerability to such variations is a big part of our strategy," Chandrakasan said.

The researchers said the concept had been put into design successfully but it would take at least five years for the product to become commercially viable. It would find application in portable and implantable medical, communication and networking devices. The researchers are also planning to refine it, especially for implantable medical devices. They say they are working on making the power requirements so low that just body heat can power it.

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