August 10, 2001
The microelectromechanical (MEMS) memory that researchers in the Center for Highly Integrated Information Processing and Storage Systems (CHIPS) at Carnegie Mellon are developing may one day put an entire computer system CPU, RAM, I/O and hard drive on a single chip, according to an article in EE Times.
The MEMS memory uses hundreds of microelectromechanical probes that each interrogate a small array of positions on a magnetic medium, in a process that EE Times reports, "represents a new approach to the next stage of storage miniaturization," also investigated by IBM and Hewlett-Packard.
"The combination of ruggedness, low power consumption, low cost and high storage capacity will make these devices indispensable," said Richard Carley, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Director of CHIPS.
NASA awarded a research grant to Carnegie Mellon to study the design of integrated MEMS storage devices (IMSDs) for satellites. With faster access times at lower costs than existing disk-drive technologies and improved portability, CHIPS research may also be used in 1- to 10-Gbyte applications in the future, including intelligent cell phones, digital cameras, smart toys, and smart VCRs.