MIT engineers have developed a LEGO-inspired artificial intelligence chip that can be stacked and reconfigured when necessary. It was made possible using alternating layers of sensing and processing elements, along with light-emitting diodes (LED) that enable the chip’s layers to communicate optically.
Unlike other modular chip designs that employ conventional wiring to relay signals between layers, this one uses light instead of physical wires to transmit information through the chip. This means that it can be reconfigured with layers that can be swapped out or stacked on, whether it be new sensors or updated processors. In the real world, this chip would be the FreeBOT, a modular freeform spherical robot.
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As we enter the era of the internet of things based on sensor networks, demand for multifunctioning edge-computing devices will expand dramatically. Our proposed hardware architecture will provide high versatility of edge computing in the future,” said Jeehwan Kim, associate professor of mechanical engineering at MIT.