Cambridge University Researchers Are Working On Microchip Which Could See Phones Need Just One Charge A Month

By Khadija Pervez in Science and Technology On 16th October 2023
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Many of us face a frustrating daily inconvenience: the dreaded moment when our phone battery runs out.

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Depending on the type of phone you own, this annoyance can occur multiple times in a single day. Frankly, it's incredibly irritating, isn't it?

Imagine if I were to share with you a development that could potentially extend the battery life of smartphones to a whole month before they require recharging.

It's quite an astonishing idea, isn't it?

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This groundbreaking concept could soon become a reality, all thanks to the efforts of the scientists at Cambridge University.

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Their innovative work involves a microchip that has the potential to significantly reduce the frequency of recharging, possibly leading to smartphones only needing to be charged 12 times a year.

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Vaire, the commercial branch of the renowned university, has secured the support of the UK government, among more than a dozen semiconductor startups, with the aim of positioning the UK at the forefront of the technology industry.

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Semiconductors, as stated by Ministry of Tech representative Paul Scully, are considered the essential foundation of the modern world, a crucial component in today's society, as highlighted in a government press release.

The microchip under development at Cambridge, on the other hand, is the product of a team of exceptionally skilled mathematicians.

In essence, the concept revolves around designing a silicon chip processor that requires nearly negligible energy to function.

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This innovation holds the promise of reducing the need for advanced batteries, potentially resulting in significantly improved battery life for our smartphones.

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Regrettably, there isn't much additional publicly available information about this new microchip, but it continues to be an intriguing prospect for many of us.

Sean Redmond, chief executive of SiliconCatalyst.UK, the company running the project, said: "If they can really deliver on that outrageous claim, it means that you will have a mobile phone that will last a month, not a day."

"Nobody in the world today has been able to realise that in a semiconductor chip - if anybody can do it, this team out of Cambridge in the UK will be able to."

The microchip is reportedly more than 100 times smaller than the current state-of-the-art devices, although it's not an entirely novel invention.

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Similar devices have been in use within the medical field for several years, such as in the case of cochlear implants for individuals with hearing impairment.

These microchips are part of a program with a budget of $1.5 million, aimed at "revolutionizing the lives of people not just in the UK but around the world." 

This program also encompasses a microchip designed to assist individuals with debilitating brain conditions like Parkinson's.

However, the technology hasn't seen significant developments in recent years, so researchers are looking to make progress in the coming months and years.