March 11, 2013
Chipmaker Freescale Semiconductor has created the world’s smallest ARM-powered chip (called the Kinetis KL02), which touts 32KB flash with 64 byte flash cache, up to 4KB RAM, a 32-bit processor and multiple flexible low-power modes. Measuring only 1.9 by 2 millimeters, the chip is a full microcontroller unit that includes RAM, ROM and an I/O control unit — all the requirements of a miniature computer.
The chip is so tiny that it could possibly lead to miniature devices that people may even be able to swallow.
“We are working with our customers and partners on providing technology for their products that can be swallowed but we can’t really comment on unannounced products,” says Steve Tateosian, a global product marketing manager for Freescale Semiconductor.
Fitness and health products Fitbit and the OmniPod insulin pump already use Freescale chips, and more health companies may begin using the tiny chips for health purposes.
“The KL02 is part of Freescale’s push to make chips tailored to the Internet of Things,” reports Wired. “Between the onboard peripherals and a power-management system tuned to the chemistry of current generation batteries, the KL02 is intended to be at the heart of a network of connected objects, moving from shoes that wirelessly report your steps (a natural evolution of Nike+) to pipes that warn you when they are leaking.”
“[Y]ou may come across them when your alarm wakes you up, you brush your teeth, make your coffee, unlock your car door, open your garage, put down the car window, pay the parking meter, tell the time on your watch, measure your heart rate, distance, and pace,” says Tateosian. “While running you may listen to your music player with several controllers inside, including in the ear buds themselves.”