The chip on show at Amazon’s MARS event — alongside karate-chopping robots and Martian bases — is many times more efficient than conventional silicon chips.
Researchers from MIT claim that they use significantly less energy than an Arm CPU core with a custom-designed navigation chip for robots and drones. Navion (below) carves a visual-inertial odometry engine into a 20-mm2 die in 65-nm CMOS.
Low-power design will allow devices as small as a honeybee to determine their location while flying. Researchers at MIT, who last year designed a tiny computer chip tailored to help honeybee-sized drones navigate, have now shrunk their chip design even further, in both size and power consumption.
You may have seen drones that behave like bees, but drones the size of bees are another matter. How do you help it navigate when virtually any conventional computing power would be too heavy and power-hungry? Make it incredibly tiny, that's how. MIT scientists have developed a new navigation chip, Navion.
In recent years, engineers have worked to shrink drone technology, building flying prototypes that are the size of a bumblebee and loaded with even tinier sensors and cameras. Thus far, they have managed to miniaturize almost every part of a drone, except for the brains of the entire operation — the computer chip.