A team of researchers from MIT has recently designed a LEGO-like computer chip. Designing the technology in this stackable manner allows for the creation of reconfigurable AI equipment with a huge range of uses. “You can add as many computing layers and sensors as you want, such as for light, pressure, and even smell,” says Jihoon Kang, who worked on the project. “We call this a LEGO-like reconfigurable AI chip because it has unlimited expandability depending on the combination of layers.”
To transmit information through it and between other chips, the device uses light. Removing the restraint of wires allows for increased flexibility to build multiple systems with different properties. “Other chips are physically wired through metal, which makes them hard to rewire and redesign, so you’d need to make a new chip if you wanted to add any new function,” says MIT postdoc Hyunseok Kim. “We replaced that physical wire connection with an optical communication system, which gives us the freedom to stack and add chips the way we want.”
This all sounds very impressive, but what are some of the uses of the chip?
Reducing electronic waste
Electronic waste is a huge issue in the world, with products only made to last until the newest model is released causing out of date items to stack up. But imagine a world where our devices don’t have to be discarded as ‘old’ and ‘outdated.’ Instead, a simple snap of an internal chip could transform it with new software, keeping our devices up to date while reducing our electronic waste. Building electronics around an interchangeable center is something that will hopefully be adopted in the future for a more environmentally and cost-friendly tech sector.
Improves electronic capabilities
This powerful design allows for more self-sufficient sensors and electronics that work independently from outside intervention. Machines powered around a local, close-knit computer framework are called “edge-computing devices” and have the benefits of improved speed, privacy, memory, reliability, and costs, to name a few.
Can form an impressive neural network
These chips could also be combined together to create an impressive neural network. These systems are basically like a computer-based brain, able to solve a number of problems including handwriting, face, and speech recognition, text translation, credit card fraud detection, medical diagnosis, and big data solutions. The perk of these MIT chips is their capability to carry out these tasks without the need for external software or Internet connection.
The list goes on…
The applications of this technology go on and on: healthcare monitors that can be embedded into wearable skin, layerable cell phone camera chips which allow for more advanced capturing and recognition of images, or add on chips for existing electronic devices.
Source study: Nature Electronics – Reconfigurable heterogeneous integration using stackable chips with embedded artificial intelligence