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ARM unveils flexible processor made of plastic

The vast majority of modern microprocessors are made of silicon – therefore, they are quite tough. And if a manufacturer wants to fit this chip into some flexible device, be it a folding smartphone or a wearable gadget, the processor has to be placed in a section of the device that won’t bend. This makes some breakthrough gadgets impossible, but now, apparently, the situation will change dramatically. The fact is that ARM has just unveiled its newest PlasticARM chip, which is made from plastic and is a flexible processor.

Company officials said PlasticARM is the first full-fledged ARM processor that isn’t made from silicon. Moreover, the first chip of this line was manufactured in the fall of last year using the proprietary PragmatIC FlexLogIC technology, and now the new product has been officially presented. The developers of the new processor also noted that the chip made of plastic would be much cheaper than the silicon analog. At the same time, the design flexibility allows the processor to be used in various areas where it was previously impossible to implement. For example, the chip can be used with a foil, plastic, or plain paper backing.

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ARM noted that the new chips could be used for wearable devices or foldable smartphones and in completely different spheres of human life, for example, for packaging food, medicine, wearable medical devices, and more.

PlasticARM characteristics:

  • 32-bit system on a chip ARM Cortex-M0;
  • ARMv6-M architecture;
  • clock rate of 20 kHz during testing (support up to 29 kHz at 3 V or 40 kHz at 4.5 V);
  • 128 bytes of RAM;
  • 456 bytes of internal memory;
  • 0.8 micron technological process.

At the moment, the system-on-a-chip, judging by the characteristics, can perform only fairly simple functions, but this is only the beginning – in the future, ARM plans to expand the capabilities of this technology.

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