The Next Thing You Swallow Could Be Freescale’s Tiny ARM Chip
No, that’s not a typo in the title. Today, Freescale introduced the smallest chip ever, an ARM-powered device called Kinetis KL02. It measures a minuscule 1.9mm by 2mm but contains a full microcontroller with a processor, RAM, ROM, a clock and an I/O control unit. In other words, it’s got all the insides of a computer, but on a much, much smaller scale.
Aside from being a cool project, why did Freescale set out to create such a tiny chip? The company says that one of their clients requested a chip that was smaller than 3mm x 3mm, but it won’t reveal which client or how the client plans on using it. Freescale chips are already in the Fitbit and insulin pumps, so it’s likely that it’ll be integrated into wearable tech. As Wired points out, many of Freescale’s clients are in the healthcare industry, so perhaps you’ll soon be swallowing this chip instead of having to endure a colonoscopy. Or perhaps Apple or Google’s newest project will be an implant that goes under your skin and vibrates when you receive an email. Just kidding– maybe.
The specs on the Kinetis KL02 aren’t going to compete with your laptop or even your smartphone anytime soon, but it’s still amazing to think about how much Freescale was able to pack into such a tiny package. It has 32K of flash memory, 4K of RAM, a 32-bit processor, a 12-bit analog to digital converter, and a low-power Universal Asynchronous Receiver/Transmitter (UART) for translating data. If this sounds enticing, the Kinetis KL02 is available retail purchase starting today.