We hear these things all the time: Our population is aging, and we need
more medical care alternatives. Social networking is thriving, and
people want creative new ways to communicate with their friends. Home
automation and security is a market ripe for new innovations. People
want to exercise more, but need more motivation to do so.
Enter low-power and ultra-low-power wireless. Once the insignificant
step children of the wireless world, lower-power wireless technologies
are hot, and they are making inroads into all of these applications.
With the new iPhone 4S sporting a Bluetooth v4.0 chip, which can
communicate with Bluetooth low-energy chips, you can bet that the
general public will soon start to take notice.
This is an interesting assertion, the claim that "people want" wireless everything. Not really, I don't think. They will buy it if it is offered, possibly, but the ones who are really pushing for it are the marketing people, who want something new to market.
Of course, there is a potential for a serious problem or two from the unlimited proliferation of wireless devices, which is that there would be no "clean" spectrum left for some really worthwhile application, and also that, since these devices are unlicensed and have no protection, that some other type of system could start using the same part of the spectrum, with greater power, and render all of the wireless gimmicks unusable. That would result in a lot more waste being added to the waste stream. Besides those reasons, the fact remains that a wired connection uses less power than a wireless connection, and is more secure, as well.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.