ARM unveils its new chip designed to save energy and control traffic lights

TABLET and smartphone chip designer Arm has unveiled a micro-processor that will see hundreds of devices connected to the internet to save time and power.

The “world’s most energy-efficient” chip design, dubbed Flycatcher, will be used to control appliances such as white goods, traffic lights and medical devices without sacrificing power consumption or space.

The Cambridge-based company said its chip design would create an “internet of things” – for example, traffic lights could be controlled via the internet to ease congestion on busy roads or after accidents, while white goods such as dishwashers could turn themselves off to save energy if the home’s electricity network is being over-used.

Medical devices such as stethoscopes might be able to send information to doctors’ surgeries.

Arm said it expects electricity demand to outstrip supply within the next 20 years, but the Flycatcher design will be able to run for years on minimal battery power and will create a smart network of devices.

The chip – just 1mm by 1mm – is expected to sell for between 13p and 20p. Arm will collect a one to two per cent royalty, creating a strong revenue stream within a decade.

Cisco forecasts there will be 25bn connected devices by 2015 and 50bn by 2020, compared to the 10-15bn today.