HP unveils mini chip with mega potential

HP has developed a new technology called Memory-Spot - a self-contained storage device with a processor and wireless capabilities that can be attached to business cards, documents, photos and more.

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By  Cleona Godinho Published  July 19, 2006

HP has developed a new technology called Memory-Spot - a self-contained storage device with a processor and wireless capabilities that can be attached to business cards, documents, photos and more. Prototypes of the Memory Spot chip developed by HP Labs contain 256Kbits to 4Mbits of memory and can transfer data wirelessly at speeds up to 10Mbits/s. According to HP, this amount of storage allows the chips to hold a short video clip, digital pictures, or “dozens of pages of text”. At a recent HP press event attended by Windows in Paris, HP officials showcased a photograph of a baby, which featured an embedded Memory-spot chip. The demonstrator then took a reader – which was connected to a PC - and waved it over the photo. A second later an audio file of a baby laughing began playing on the PC. “We can all see a value in audio being associated with a photograph and our challenge was to build a bridge between the physical and digital and to find a way to sprinkle digital dust over objects,” stated Huw Robson, director of Media Technologies Laboratory at HP Labs in Bristol, UK. The idea behind the technology is to enhance real-world items like menus, advertising cards or photos. According to HP, travel brochures contain static text and picture of landmarks and nature, but one of these tags could allow the authors to include videos of the places featured, as well as audio. HP claims the tiny memory chip can be written to, and read from, in a fraction of a second. The firm also revealed that it was confident about the success of the new chip, as the price of one looks set to be between just five and ten US cents per spot. Additionally, HP officials announced a Memory-Spot reader could soon be incorporated into an iPaQ PDA phone, adding that security was not an issue as the Memory-Spot reader would have to be about a millimetre away to work. Asked about potential uses of Memory-spot in this region, Amr Hassan, regional general manager of HP ME’s, Imaging and Printing Group stated: “ I think there is huge potential for Memory-spot technology in the region, especially in the medical, legal and educational segments. I also believe that e-government will also benefit a great deal. Moreover, I am confident that the Memory-Spot will be very popular with home and business users because of its affordability and convenience.” HP also revealed ideas for future expansion of the of Memory-Spot concept, such as making it an SD slot compatible reader.

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