Self-healing, self-monitoring chip rearranges circuit if damaged

Autore: ExtremeTech

A standard computer is a complex group of individual parts working together as a whole — RAM, some kind of data storage, a processor, and so on. When one of those integral parts breaks, the computer is rendered useless and the part must be replaced, but what if the computer could begin routing the broken part’s tasks through the bits that are still functional? Computers can’t do that just yet, but researchers have now managed to coax a microchip into doing so.

Ali Hajimiri and a group of Caltech researchers have managed to create an integrated circuit that, after taking severe damage, can reconfigure itself in such a way where it can still remain functional. The chip isn’t exactly like Terminator 2′s T-1000. It doesn’t slowly melt back together, or generate new physical parts to patch up the broken area. However, it contains a secondary processor that jumps into action when parts of the chip become compromised. So, the bulk of the chip is damaged, but the secondary processor uses a bit of quick-thinking to figure out how the chip can still perform tasks. The chip is also able to tweak itself on the fly, and can be programmed to focus more on saving energy or performance speed.

Healing chip

The team’s microchip lives its life as a power amplifier, the kind of circuit that processes signal transmissions, such as those found in mobile phones. Aside from the aforementioned secondary processor, the chip contains 100,000 transistors, as well as various sensors in order to monitor the unit’s overall health. The team tested the self-healing capabilities of the chip by blasting it with a laser, taking out around half of its transistors. It only took the microchip a handful of milliseconds to deal with the loss and move on. On top of that, the team found that a chip that wasn’t blasted by lasers was able to increase its efficiency by reducing its power consumption by half. Now like you’re undoubtedly thinking, if the secondary processor is smashed to pieces, or all of the transistors go on the fritz, the chip can’t fix itself. It won’t have any remaining parts to actually push processes through. If smashed into a fine dust with a hammer, the chip won’t be able to put itself back together. However, the chip would mainly be able to withstand the kind of damage that it would naturally receive, such as wear and tear from age, or a slight bump on the noggin.

Though the chip can’t melt into metal puddles and slide back together while John Connor stares in horror, and can only fix itself if the secondary processor and at least some of the parts remain intact, the self-monitoring and tweaking capabilities are a monumentally important addition to the unit. Not only can the chip monitor itself in order to provide the best possible performance in general, but if some of the parts do break down, the chip won’t provide some kind of jury-rigged output. It will look for and tweak itself to generate the best possible output with the remaining working bits. So, rather than a slow chip that is technically operational, you can rest easy knowing that your chip is doing the best it can, and nothing is being wasted.

According to Hajimiri, the technology behind this self-healing circuit can be applied to any kind of circuit, as the secondary processor is tucked away safely underneath the main unit. Though the system is still simple (in that it uses more hardware that could conceivably get damaged as well), it does point toward embedded repair systems for delicate tech in the future. Perhaps one day when we drop our phones, we’ll be able to pick them back up off the ground without then spending the next twenty minutes carefully testing integral functions to make sure everything is still running as efficiently as it could.

Now read: Self-healing, self-heating flash memory survives more than 100 million cycles

2 thoughts on “Self-healing, self-monitoring chip rearranges circuit if damaged

  1. In italia ci sono circa 25 mila persone scomparse, di cui la metà sono bambini; per non parlare di rapimenti, delitti con occultamento di cadavere etc…

    Di fronte a questi dati e situazioni, se fosse possibile, vi fareste mai impiantare un chip di riconoscimento e localizzazione per proteggere voi stessi, i vostri cari o i vostri figli?

    perchè sì, perchè no?

  2. Ciao ragazzi, scusate ma ho bisogno di aiuto per il mio computer e sono abbastanza disperato e se non lo sono abbastanza lo diventerò sicuramente completamente se la seguente storia finisce male, ossia che ho acceso il PC è sono spariti i due hard disk di archivio che avevo, nel senso che per il mio PC è come se non ci fossero più.
    Non risultano nemmeno in ‘gestione computer’.
    Il mio computer convive da anni ormai con un problema seguito ad un cortocircuito nel dicembre 2006 dopo cui furono sostituiti quais tutti i pezzi) il problema che a volte sembrava non presentarsi più e a volte si ripresentava, consisteva nel fatto che alcune volte si spegneva, cosa che poi non si è verificata più, oppure cosa che succede ancora, vado per accenderlo e dopo un secondo si spegne un attimino facendo un *rumore* di un secondo, di tipo di qualcosa che si brucia e poi provando di nuovo si riaccende. Lo fa soprattutto quando spengo la ciabatta (multipresa) dov’è attaccato il PC. Infatti ieri pure ho spento l’interruttore (quello dietro al PC però) e provavo ad accenderlo e si spegneva sempre come quando la macchina non parte, poi si è riacceso e non sono risultati più i due hard-disk (due diversi hard-disk, non partizioni!). Non è tutto attaccato su una sola ciabatta, sono due e una l’avevo anche sostituita.
    Ultimamente lo faceva più spesso all’accensione del PC e un paio di volte mi usciva il messaggio che mi diceva che si doveva resettare la CPU e ancora più ultimamente mi appariva il seguente messaggio:

    «Please resetting CPU or Memory Frequency in the CMOS Setup

    Primary IDE Master = none

    Primary Ide Slave = none

    Secondary IDE Master:
    HL – DT – ST DVD-ROM GDR8163BO[‘o’ o ‘zero’?]L23

    Secondary IDE Slave: _ NEC DVD-RW ND – 35204 1.04[?]

    SATA 1: MAXTOR STM 380215AS 3. .AAC [?]

    SATA 2: MAXTOR STM3500320AS Mx15

    SATA 3 MAXTOR 6B160Mo BANC 1B10 [’10’ o forse ‘Y’?]

    SATA 4: NONE

    ASUS P5ND2 SE ACPI BIOS REVISION 0602
    MAIN PROCESSOR: INTEL (R) PENTIUM (R) 4 CPU 3.00GHz
    MEMORY TESTING: 3145728K OK (INSTALL MEMORY 3145728K)»

    Cosa posso fare?
    RISCHIO DI PERDERE I MIEI DATI???????
    QUESTA è LA MIA PAURA!
    SE COMPRO UN PC TOTALMENTE NUOVO DEVO ANCHE CAMBIARE GLI HARD DISK?

    OGNI QUANTO VANNO CAMBIATI?

Lascia un Commento

L'indirizzo email non verrà pubblicato. I campi obbligatori sono contrassegnati *


7 × nove =

È possibile utilizzare questi tag ed attributi XHTML: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>