Photos: Chip tech takes new shapes

ZDNet UK's Rupert Goodwins explores various breakthroughs, including fuel cells powering laptops and silicon lasers.

Chip tech takes new shapes

Intel is so proud of its silicon laser breakthrough, it's been giving away the experimental chips to lucky journalists.

Credit: Rupert Goodwins

silicon laser

Chip tech takes new shapes

Europeans can expect to see this portable PDA with built-in digital TV and personal video recording later this year. Philips Semiconductors makes the chips that convert European DTV-B signals to VGA-quality digital images, and with many European countries planning to abandon analog TV soon, there will be a lot of replacement portable TVs to be bought.

Credit: Rupert Goodwins

PDA

Chip tech takes new shapes

Ultra wideband is suffering a bit from overhype and standardization conflict. But you can still sniff out the occasional prototype, seen here transmitting video over a distance of inches on the NEC stand as part of the WirelessUSB effort.

Credit: Rupert Goodwins

UWB prototype

Chip tech takes new shapes

A working fuel cell powering a laptop? Actually, it's a working fuel cell powering a DC converter containing a standard laptop battery powering a laptop--giving you some idea of how far the technology has to go before it becomes commercial. This example runs from hydrogen, and like all of its predecessors, it is two years from appearing on shelves.

Credit: Rupert Goodwins

laptop feul cell

Chip tech takes new shapes

This giant display ball from Vizible is projected onto a glass screen and rotates as you move your hand over it. By recognizing and acting on hand gestures, it pulls together multiple data sources in a way that anyone can use with no training--rather like the user interface from the movie "Minority Report."

Credit: Rupert Goodwins

Vizible ball

Chip tech takes new shapes

This printed circuit board is what you need if you have fully buffered DDR memory chips to test. It looks more like abstract art than electronics. And with a price tag of $10,000, it probably deserves to hang in a gallery.

Credit: Rupert Goodwins

circuit board

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