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HP reveals tiny, tiny wireless chip

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Some of HP’s biggest brains have created what the company claims is the world’s tiniest wireless data chip.

The vendor’s Memory Spot technology, developed at its labs in Bristol, currently squeezes 256Kb to 4Mb of memory and an antenna into a device between 2mm and 4mm square. Or, as HP phrases it for those of us only able to think of things in terms of food, about the size of a grain of rice. Future versions will no doubt have much larger capacities.

hp wireless chip

Data can be transferred at 10Mbps to readers embedded in digital devices, such as a cellphone (about the size of a hotdog), PDA (about the size of a small steak), or a PC (about the size of two party buckets or four pizzas). Power comes from inductive coupling with the read write device.

HP said the chip could be “stuck on or embedded in almost any object”. So, possible apps include embedding a patient’s full medical history and drug records into their hospital ID wrist band, audio photos, digital documents, anti-counterfeiting, security passes, and the like.

At first glance, the technology sounds like some kind of glorified RFID chip, but there’s a world of difference between storing what is a souped up bar code, and a patient’s entire medical history, which presumably will include quite a lot of rather sensitive ID info. ®

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