ARM’s PlasticARM is a flexible microprocessor made from plastic rather than silicon


Most microprocessors are made from silicon. And most are rigid, which means that if you want to put them in flexible devices like foldable phones or portable devices, they will need to be placed in a section that does not Bend.

ARM has just unveiled a new Plastic arm chip that goes against both trends. It’s a natively flexible processor made of plastic instead of silicon.

The company claims that PlasticARM is the “first fully functional silicon-free ARM processor.” The first chip was manufactured last fall using PragmatIC’s FlexLogIC manufacturing system.

ARM says plastics could be much cheaper to produce, while their flexible nature would allow them to be used in different types of applications. They can be used with paper, plastic or metal foil substrates. So we are not only considering a chip technology that could be used for wearable devices such as smart watches and foldable phones, but also for food packaging, bandages or other portable medical devices, and all kinds of others. applications.

But while ARM’s new technology could eventually pave the way for cheaper and more flexible electronics, the first PlasticARM chip offers fairly straightforward specifications:

  • 32-bit ARM Cortex-M0 SoC (system on a chip)
  • ARMv6-M architecture
  • 20 kHz clock during testing (supported up to 29 kHz at 3 V or 40 kHz at 4.5 V)
  • 128 bytes of RAM
  • 456 byte ROM
  • 0.8 µm process

ARM claims that despite these rather basic characteristics, the chip is “twelve times more complex than previous state-of-the-art flexible electronics.”

You can find more details in an article that ARM engineers submitted to the scientific journal Nature, titled “A Native Flexible 32-bit Arm Microprocessor.”

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