ARM working on chips for invisible wearable tech

Micro Electronics

by CBR Staff Writer| 03 June 2014

UK chip giant setting up a CPU Design Center in Hsinchu, Taiwan.

British semiconductor company ARM Holdings is working on next generation processors which could make wearable devices so small as to be almost 'invisible'.

Speaking in the Computex exhibition in Taipei, ARM said that it is developing CPUs and microcontrollers for these thin profile wearables and smartglasses, which need more processing power.

ARM CPUs deputy general manager Noel Hurley said these processors would consume just nanowatts of power and be in wearables that blend with the body easily.

"They are like dust, you can scatter them around," Hurley added.

The company believes size, power, connectivity and data management are prime components of wearable while battery is heaviest part of them.

Hurley said smaller wearable like health monitors will not only reduce the hassle for the patients but also prevent them from being ripped apart, while sending out continuous data feed without interruption.

Hurley added, "The weight and profile of the product is really important."

The wearable CPU designs will have sensors closer to digital signal processors (DSPs), which will allow faster processing of data, facilitating interaction with smartphones or other data collecting instruments.

As part of its plan, the company is setting up a new CPU Design Center in the Hsinchu Science Park, Hsinchu, Taiwan.

Scheduled to open by the end of 2014, the centre will design ARM Cortex-M series processors for the Internet of Things (IoT), wearables and embedded applications markets.

ARM chief executive officer Simon Segars said proximity to key semiconductor and ecosystem partners and high-caliber local engineering talent makes Taiwan an ideal location for the company to expand CPU design activities.

"The new design center will have a particular focus on the development of ARM Cortex-M processors which are the market-leading design choice for IoT products," Segars said.

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