Freescale‘s newest chip is as thin as a blade of grass.
Targeted at Internet of Things applications, which are expected to become a $1.7 trillion market by 2020, the Kinetis K22 microcontroller from Freescale is just 0.34 millimeters in height. But it packs a 120-megahertz processor and a variety of memories and interfaces into a tiny little package for Internet of Things applications.
It’s small enough to serve as the chip brain of secure credit cards, wearables, and other razor-thin consumer electronics. Multiple products using the chip are expected to debut in the months ahead.
The Internet of Things applications are no doubt one reason that Dutch chip maker NXP Semiconductors bought Austin, Texas-based Freescale for $11.8 billion earlier this year. And you can figure that we’ll see even more interesting gadgets and IoT apps at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show in January, thanks to platforms such as Kinetis. The newest IoT gadgets will continue to push the limits of size, performance, security, and battery life.
The chip has built-in security, and it will give product designers more options for creativity, Freescale said.
“In the IoT era, an incessant demand for ’what’s next’ is challenging systems designers to consistently deliver breakthrough solutions,” said Steve Tateosian, manager of microcontroller platforms for Freescale, in a statement. “Freescale’s new Kinetis package – measuring as thin as a blade of grass – demonstrates our commitment to advancing the consumer electronics, IoT and secure payments markets by enabling manufacturers to focus on their most taxing design challenges, while pushing the boundaries of functionality and integration.”
The Kinetis is a new breed of microcontroller, or MCU, which packs all of the necessary components for running an appliance-like device, such as an automated glucose monitor for diabetes patients. Freescale envisions its chip being embedded in a stretchable electronic patch or even under the skin, as an implant for such monitors.
Earlier this year, Freescale unveiled the world’s smallest single-chip module (SCM) for the IoT, replacing a six-inch board with a device the size of the U.S. dime and reducing the need for 100-plus components down to just one. Other chip makers can do these things as well, but Freescale is trying to specialize in this field.