Next Big Thing – sprinting chips

Superphones of the future will run at 10 times the speed and almost never need charging. Probably

Why would I want food I have to chase?

Relax, we mean smartphone chips. A team at the University of Pennsylvania has proposed designing processors to intermittently break into a sprint instead of their usual steady jog.

Drop the fitness metaphor

Instead of always using all their cores, processors would work on one but fire up more (up to 16) when they needed a burst of power. It could make smartphones run 10 times faster without needing to beef up the battery. Sprinting chips also mimic the way most of us use our devices: quick bursts  of intense activity alongside steady, all-day use.

Like it. When can I get one?

Not anytime soon. A material that can handle quick cooling and heating needs to be developed and the idea is still at lab stage. But give it a decade or two: six-month battery life here we come.

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