Computer chip manufacturer Intel has announced what it believes to be a breakthrough in microprocessor technology, claiming the company has created a new Itanium processor that can run on extremely low power levels, low enough that the chip could be powered by a small size solar cell.
According to Intel, standard chips run off of roughly 1 volt of energy today, but the newly developed processor, called the Near Threshold Voltage Processor (codename Claremont), is on the path to be able to run off as little as 400 millivolts of power.
The Claremont processor can be placed in a low-energy mode of less than 10 milliwatts, giving the chip improved energy efficiency, and allows for applications to be constantly running. The goal of the project is to someday reach a so-called “zero power” state that could allow for mobile devices to be entirely solar powered or even powered by wireless signals.
At the moment, Intel is unsure if the Claremont processor will ever be put into production, but has hopes that the new technology will advance extreme scale computing, which may be able to increase performance ten times while cutting power by one-tenth.