An update on the Memristor

14 November, 2010 § 1 Comment

Since my initial blog post about the Memristor in May, a couple new developments have surfaced.

Hewlett-Packard has teamed up with Hynix Semiconductor to begin manufacturing memristor memory chips. They are still on schedule to deliver them to market by 2013 and will be marketed as RRAM, short for Resistive Random Access Memory.

The memristor technology will allow much faster write-times compared to flash technology. General computer users will be able to sync up their portable devices in 1/1000th of the time that it takes them today. Not only will devices be able to sync faster, but they will be able to store more data than could have ever been concieved of before. HP expects to reach a storage density of about 20 gigabytes per square centimeter by 2013. As a comparison, the surface area of an Apple iPod Nano is about 64 cm2 which could translate to over 1.25 terabytes of data on the surface of the device alone.

General users can expect to see devices that use this extra storage space to continuously collect data. The vast amounts of data that can be collected are in line with Intel’s “Era of Tera” forecast. Devices will be able to use the data for facial recognition of past acquaintances, weather forecasting through crowd-sourced data collection, and even more interesting applications that have yet to be thought of.

Hynix is going using an nonexclusive license of the technology and has not pushed all resources behind it. They will continue to work on competing technologies, “such as spin torque transfer RAM (which operates using electron spin measurement), phase-change memory (which stores data by alternating two material states), and Z-RAM, a capacitorless version of DRAM that the company licensed from Innovative Silicon in 2007.” [1]

[1] Adee, S. Memristor Inside. IEEE Spectrum. September 2010. http://spectrum.ieee.org/semiconductors/devices/memristor-inside

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