Wires? Feh.

By on August 3, 2004

Sun is doing some research to see if they can effectively create computer chips that don’t connect to the board via wires. Instead, they are planning on creating chips that pass data wirelessly via induction.

“It is not that on chip wires are evil. It is just that they are large,” Drost said. “The number of pins to get to the outside world has gone up only 5 (percent) to 10 percent a year.”

By contrast, proximity communication relies on capacitive coupling—the ability of two electrically charged devices close to each other to interact. Transmitters on one chip can send signals to another. These signals are then amplified. A much higher number of transmitter/receiver pairs than pins can be inserted in a specific area, which allows for more simultaneous connections.

The problem becomes how to keep chips in alignment. If you have transmitters and receivers that tightly packed, then even minor vibration will misalign the inputs, a problem that physical pins don’t have to deal with.

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