Business, Finance & Economics

New computer chip seeks to create an "internet of things"


Flycatcher chip may allow internet to penetrate everything from toasters to trees.


Yoshikazu Tsuno

The Flycatcher, a new computer chip from a UK firm, will be capable of connecting traffic lights, parking meters and possibly even forests in the future.

According to the BBC, the firm, Arm Holdings, says that tiny microcontrollers based on what has been termed "Flycatcher" architecture, will be able to create an "internet of things" able to connect to nearly every conceivable device or appliance.

The miniscule microchip (0.03 inches squared) is said to be the lowest powered of its kind ever created and will soon be in motors, sensors, lights and heating systems.

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The chipmaker, who currently creates the processors for nearly all smartphones on the market, wants to take the chip even further.

In a trial in San Francisco recently, reported the Guardian, drivers were able to use a parking machine powered by the chip to find free spaces and even pay for parking with their smartphone, doing away with the need for loose change.

Traffic lights could also be powered by the chip in order to ease traffic problems and driver safety.

Medical equipment, such blood pressure monitors, could also use the new chip to transmit information to the doctor's surgery, said the Guardian.

“The Internet of things will change the world as we know it, improving energy efficiency, safety, and convenience,” Tom Halfhill, a senior analyst with The Linley Group, told the Financial Times. “Ubiquitous network connectivity is useful for almost everything – from adaptive room lighting and online video gaming to smart sensors and motor control. But it requires extremely low-cost, low-power processors that still can deliver good performance.”