With no equal in terms of its combination of size, memory capacity and data access speed, the tiny chip could be stuck on or embedded in almost any object and make available information and content now found mostly on electronic devices or the Internet.
Some of the potential applications include storing medical records on a hospital patientâ€™s wristband; providing audio-visual supplements to postcards and photos; helping fight counterfeiting in the pharmaceutical industry; adding security to identity cards and passports; and supplying additional information for printed documents.
The experimental chip, developed by the â€œMemory Spotâ€ research team at HP Labs, is a memory device based on CMOS (a widely used, low-power integrated circuit design) and about the size of a grain of rice or smaller (2 mm to 4 mm square), with a built-in antenna. The chips could be embedded in a sheet of paper or stuck to any surface, and could eventually be available in a booklet as self-adhesive dots.
â€œThe Memory Spot chip frees digital content from the electronic world of the PC and the Internet and arranges it all around us in our physical world,â€ said Ed McDonnell, Memory Spot project manager, HP Labs.
The chip has a 10 megabits-per-second data transfer rate â€“ 10 times faster than Bluetooth wireless technology and comparable to Wi-Fi speeds â€“ effectively giving users instant retrieval of information in audio, video, photo or document form. With a storage capacity ranging from 256 kilobits to 4 megabits in working prototypes, it could store a very short video clip, several images or dozens of pages of text. Future versions could have larger capacities…