It will take a lot of work, but Sun Microsystems says it is making headway on a technology that will allow chips to communicate without circuit boards or wires.
The technology, called "proximity communication," aims to let one chip transmit signals directly to another next to it, instead of through the tangle of pins, wires and circuit boards employed today. If successful, the technique could greatly alter many aspects of computer design.
Performance, for instance, could greatly escalate because the speed of transferring data among chips and the number of channels for the transfers would increase. Energy consumption could also decline. Just as important, overall costs could fall, because defective chips could be removed like Scrabble tiles. "There is a huge need for higher-bandwidth kind of chips," Robert Drost, a senior researcher at Sun Labs, said at an open house last week. "Rather than have the chips soldered onto a printed circuit board, the printed circuit board is taken out of the system."
News source: ZDNet