PlasticArm – flexible amorphous silicon microprocessor

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Modern flexible electronic devices are so named primarily because of flexible screens. What about flexible electronics?

Arm announced PlasticArm, the first flexible microprocessor. It was created by Arm Research together with PragmatIC, and the project started back in 2013, and already in 2015 the first prototype was created.

The fully functional PlasticArm chip in question was created on October 27, 2020. The solution is a simple microprocessor based on the Cortrex-M0 core with 128 bytes of RAM and 456 bytes of flash memory. The operating frequency is only 29 kHz with a consumption of about 20 mW. But at the same time, as stated in the press release, it is 12 times more complex than the previous flexible solution of this kind.

PlasticArm - flexible amorphous silicon microprocessor

PlasticArm is made of amorphous silicon, which, due to its non-crystalline structure, can bend. The material itself is not new at all – it is used to create solar panels and LCDs. Plus, it’s quite cheap. The catch is that at the moment amorphous silicon cannot be made into high-performance and energy-efficient chips. However, if we talk about wearable electronics, then the available capabilities may be enough, and the flexibility allows you to create previously impossible products.

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