Microprocessor Powered By Wine


Pour a tall one for super-efficient computer chips. Literally. Device engineers at Intel have created a microprocessor that powers up from a single glass of red wine.

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The silicon microprocessor was demonstrated recently during a talk (video) by Genevieve Bell at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco. “If we want to have mobile technology that doesn’t burden us down, that knows us, it turns out we’re going to need really, really low power,” she said.

The system was made in Intel Labs as part of an internal project to redefine what low power really means. While the demo was intentionally short on details, the engineer explained that it’s a bit like that school project where you power an LED with DIY lemon batteries (video) but instead of lemons, they used wine — this being California after all.

Red wine was poured into a glass equipped with copper and zinc parts. That was enough to provide the microwatts needed to power an accelerometer and the Intel communications and processing system. This enabled the engineer to move a flower image around on the computer screen in real time by moving the accelerometer.

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Ultimately the aim is to produce device-charging tech on the microwatt level that doesn’t sacrifice performance. Such tech could mean a boost for anyone using a computer while traveling, but also in areas where electricity is scarce. Red wine was used here, but in the future Intel Labs envisions sophisticated systems that draw power from ambient light or even the warmth of your skin.

Intel’s solution is still years from practical implementation, though, as IDG News Service’s Agam Shah reported. Oh darn, that means they’ll probably need to pull out a few more corks. Cheers, you crazy engineers.

Credit: iStockPhoto


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