Japan Solar Powered Super Cpu

Japan's Solar CPUA consortium of Japanese companies is developing a CPU for electronics that will use 70 per cent less energy than conventional chips and run on solar energy.

Electronic and IT giants Fujitsu, Toshiba, Panasonic, NEC and Hitachi, along with imaging specialist Canon, are among the firms that have agreed to work on the so-called ‘super CPU’.

Their participation in the project will help ensure that standards for the chip, if realised, will be adopted in a broad range of consumer electronics. 

Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry is backing the initiative. It will provide $32m to $42m (£19.4m to £25.4m) in initial funding, according to Forbes magazine, which cited a Nikkei Business News report published last week.

The project is aimed at developing an innovate, home-grown chip that will challenge the market dominance of Intel, while reducing power consumption and reliance on grid-supplied energy.

The ministry hopes to have the super CPU embedded in products, such as televisions and digital cameras, by early 2013. If the chip gains widespread adoption in consumer electronics, its use could later be expanded for use in cars, computer servers and robots, according to the Nikkei.

Industry observers believe the super CPU will likely be based on the Advanced RISC Machine, or ARM, architecture for chips commonly used in electronic products such as smart phones, personal digital assistants and other handheld devices.

The super CPU is to be compatible with energy-saving software developed by Hironori Kasahara, a professor of computer science at Tokyo’s Waseda University. Having a universal standard and software format that could be used in various appliances may help save companies in research and development costs.