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Intelligent Machines

Power Miser Chips

Adding complexity to portable electronic equipment usually means an increase in power consumption. Now PicoDyne, a semiconductor startup in Albuquerque, N.M., promises more complex, higher-performing electronics that use far less power than standard electronic devices. Most of today’s chips run on three volts. PicoDyne, using technology licensed from the University of New Mexico’s Microelectronics Research Center, has designed a chip that runs at a much lower voltage and thus consumes 50 to 100 times less power, says company president Earl Fuller. PicoDyne’s chips could save power in a range of equipment, including laptop computers, personal digital assistants, mobile phones and digital hearing aids. Fuller expects PicoDyne to introduce its first product, a digital signal processor, by year’s end.

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