Intel demonstrates ultra low-power processor

Summary: During a technology demo Intel showed off a computer processor able to run on the little power generated by a small solar cell, but said they have no plans to turn solar powered computing into a product yet.

During the opening keynote at this year’s (2011) Intel Developer Forum (IDF) conference held in San Francisco, Intel president and CEO Paul S. Otellini showcased a low power processor developed by Intel Labs.

Calling onto stage Sriram Vangal, principal research scientist at Intel, they demonstrated a processor running on a small solar cell.

Cute kitten rocking with headphonesVangal explained that the processor was running at near the threshold voltage of its transistors, but was still able to run Windows and display an animation. The animation seemed to be an animated gif and showed a kitten wearing headphones (pictured).

To prove that that processor was indeed running off of the solar cell, Vangal put his hand between it and the light source, causing the computer to lock up.

While the benefits of technology like this for South Africans and other developing nations is obvious, Otellini said that they have no plans to turn solar powered computing into a product… yet.

The purpose of the research and the demonstration was to show off Intel’s work in reducing processor power requirements to increase battery life, tying in with their push into the so-called “Ultrabook” and smartphone markets.

Intel low power CPU full test bench - IDF 2011
Intel low power CPU full test bench - IDF 2011
Intel low power CPU at IDF 2011
Intel low power CPU at IDF 2011
Sriram Vangal - Intel principal research scientist
Sriram Vangal - Principal research scientist, Intel

Jan Vermeulen is a guest of Intel at IDF 2011

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Intel demonstrates ultra low-power processor