Could Your Next Laptop Run Off Solar Power?

September 26, 2011 at 9:00 am Leave a comment

Right now most of you will probably be reading this blog post from a laptop.  You are either plugged into the outlet or using your battery.  The best batteries nowadays only last at most maybe 8 hours or so.  Well that could soon change in the future.  Researchers at Intel (Intel makes the processor chips that is in many laptops and desktop computers) recently debuted an experiemental processor.  This chip could lead to devices that use significantly lower energy consumption; so low in fact that the entire laptop could be powered from solar power.

The chip, which was codenamed “Claremont” is known by the researchers as a near-threshold voltage processor.  This type of processor allows transistors to operate at a near “threshold” voltages which increases efficiency and decreases energy consumption.  In non techy words, this processor uses very little power to operate, and uses that power very efficiently.

The researchers at Intel demoed the experimental processor on a PC running Linux OS and the PC was only powered off a solar cell the size of a postage stamp.  According to an Intel spokeswoman Connie Brown, “We used a solar cell in the demo to show how little power was required.  But it could run on anything that has power.” Since it uses very little power, the device would be able to stay on at times uses very little power to preserve open applications.  It could very well turn into a “always on” device.

This new processor could really change things for Intel.  Right now, according to the article, most mobile devices use ARM (a competitor of Intel) processors because those processors already don’t require a lot of power to operate.  If Intel can really build a processor that users less power than ARM, maybe they could dominate the market of mobile devices.  It could also really change the game for applications on laptops and PCS.  The future seems to be very exciting in the tech world.

I hope you enjoyed my blog post!  Feel free to comment and make sure to take the BlackBoard quiz!  If you wish to read the article this post was based on, it is located HERE


-Mike J.


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