HP's develops grain-sized memory chip

Posted by Wolfgang Gruener

Hewlett-Packard researches announced that they have developed a tiny memory chip that could bring data storage capabilities to virtually and product. According to HP, the CMOS-based device is about the size of a rice grain and provides a capacity ranging from 64 kB to 512 kB - which isn't exciting by today's standards and storage hungry multimedia applications, but it's enough to store lots of text, a few decent digital images or a (very) short video clip.

What makes the "Memory Spot" especially interesting is its wireless capability. HP says that it uses an integrated antenna and can transfer data at a 10 Mb/s, which is ten 10 times faster than Bluetooth and about what you can expect from your Wi-Fi network within your house. Also, the chip does not need an external battery. It receives power through inductive coupling from another read-write device, which can then extract content from the memory on the chip. Inductive coupling is a process in which energy can be transferred from on device to another by sharing an electromagnetic field.

You won't find Memory Spots in supercomputers; the technology however could be very useful in portable electronics such as cellphones or digital cameras or even products that do not integrate memory chips yet - such as a wristband you wear during a hospital stay. HP also envisions digital postcards, audio photos, security passes, an electronic attachment to your prescription, electronic notes attached to a sheet of paper, or electronic "photocopies" of documents that do not degrade in quality.