Wearable technology is nothing new, although it is definitely fashionable and is currently emerging. The same is true for the broad Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem. Even things like smart patches exist, although current implementations tend to use traditional crystalline silicon as the basis or substrate for the actual chip. In contrast, native flexible electronic devices use substrates such as paper, metal foil, or plastic arms-plastic. Thin film transistors (TFT) are grafted on top of the substrate to form a truly flexible chip. The benefits of this technology also extend beyond flexibility. Compared with metal oxide semiconductor field effect transistors (MOSFETs) manufactured on crystalline silicon wafers, TFTs can be manufactured on flexible substrates at a much lower cost. The final product also tends to be thinner, comfortable to wear or suitable for a variety of surfaces.

Plastic arm

It should be noted that PlasticARM is an actual, fully functional proof of concept, created by ARM. It has an area of ​​59.2 mm2 (without pads) and contains 56,340 devices (n-type TFT plus resistor) or 18,334 NAND2 equivalent gates, which is at least 12 times higher than the best integrated circuit before (ie, binary neural network) . Network (BNN) FlexIC). The clock frequency of the microprocessor can reach up to 29 kHz, and the power consumption is only 21 mW, mainly (>99%) static power consumption, of which the processor accounts for 45%, memory accounts for 33%, and peripherals account for 22%. The SoC uses 28 pins, including clock, reset, GPIO, power, and other debug pins. Simply put, this is a fully functional 32-bit ARM chipset. Not only the processor, but also memory, I/O, etc. Connect some suitable and even flexible sensors to it, and the sky is the limit.

However, be very clear that even if it is 12 times the number of TFTs in the closest siblin, PlasticARM is not a powerful chip. It uses its own Cortex-M architecture, based on the entry-level ARM-Cortex-M0+, and implements the Armv6-M architecture that supports 16-bit Thumb and 32-bit Thumb instruction set subsets, and achieves binary compatibility using Cortex-M processors and their codes . You can definitely delve into the subject in the source link, but again, in a nutshell-this makes PlasticARM quite standard and versatile.

test program

test program

To reiterate, ARM already has a prototype that can run a total of three extremely simple programs. However, if you look at the logic flow diagram, it is easy to see that the existing and achievable logic is sufficient to support a new wave of smart devices and even objects. Things such as smart clothing with sensors, smart containers, etc., for example, can measure and determine whether food is still well packaged. The possibilities are endless, truly fascinating, deep into the field of the Internet of Everything. There are futuristic things everywhere, and it has happened today!

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