Last week, Hewlett-Packard announced it has created a miniature wireless data chip, grain-sized (2mm to 4 mm square) with a built-in antenna, that could be attached to almost any object -- including cell phones, PDAs, cameras and printers -- and provide information currently found on electronic devices or the Internet.
Claiming that the new chip has "no equal in terms of its combination of size, memory capacity and data access speed," the chip called Memory Spot will be of particular interest to drug manufacturers as it can contain secure information about the manufacture and quality of pharmaceuticals. Airplane manufacturers could also use the chip to verify high-value engineering and aviation components.
"The Memory Spot chip frees digital content from the electronic world of the PC and the Internet and arranges it all around us in our physical world," said Ed McDonnell, Memory Spot project manager, HP Labs.
The chip has a 10 megabits-per-second data transfer rate, comparable to Wi-Fi speeds, effectively giving users instant retrieval of information in audio, video, photo or document form. With a storage capacity ranging from 256 kilobits to 4 megabits in working prototypes, it could store a very short video clip, several images or dozens of pages of text.
Information can be accessed by a read-write device incorporated into the object containing the chip. Users could also add information to the chip through the device.
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