Soon, a mere $10 chip may turn your mobile into a fully-fledged computer

February 22nd, 2008 - 1:59 pm ICT by admin  

Sydney, February 22 (ANI): Your cell phones may soon start receiving transmissions of high-definition films from nearby video shops, and then upload them to a home computer within a few seconds.

Well, all this may be possible with a new silicon chip developed by Australian University researchers.

The five-millimetre-a-side GiFi, unveiled at the Melbourne University-based national information and communications technology research centre (NITCA), can transmit data through a wireless connection at a breakthrough rate of five gigabits per second over distances of up to 10 metres.

“I believe in the longer term every consumer device will have this technology,” quoted Professor Stan Skafidas, whose team spent almost a decade developing the chip with collaborators from computer giant IBM, as saying.

Professor Skafidas claimed that he and his colleagues are the first to fix a working transceiver on a chip by utilising CMOS (complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor) technologya cheap, ubiquitous technique that prints silicon chips.

He says that his chip uses only a tiny one-millimetre-wide antenna, and less than two watts of power. It will cost less than 10 dollars to manufacture, he adds.

What gives it an advantage over wireless internet (WiFi) is the 60GHz “millimetre wave” spectrum that is uses to transmit the data. Professor Skafidas points out that WiFi’s part of the spectrum is increasingly crowded, sharing the waves with devices such as cordless phones, which leads to interference and slower speeds.

The researcher says that his chip-based technology is potentially hundreds of times faster than the average home WiFi unit, though WiFi still benefits from being able to provide wireless coverage over a greater distance.

Victoria’s minister for information and communication technology, Theo Theophanous, has appreciated the 27-member team, including 10 PhDs students, for developing this chip.

“This new technology will dramatically change the way data and content-rich information is managed in the office and the home, as well as enabling new applications. The possibilities are endless,” Theophanous said.

Professor Skafidas claims that the chip has the world’s first signal mixing and filter technology, and a switch that isolates the transmitter and receiver so they do not interfere with each other.

He has revealed that it will take another year worth of work on the chip before it becomes ready for a launch in the market. According to him, the team still needs to develop technology that injects data into the transceiver.

The researcher envisions that the GiFi may one day prove helpful in turning a mobile device into a fully-fledged computer. (ANI)

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