|Picture taken from CNN, courtesy of HP.|
The so called "Memristors" that HP is working with and Hynix Semiconductor Inc. (HSI) of Icheon, Korea, (The world’s top tier memory semiconductor supplier offering Dynamic Random Access Memory chips (DRAMs), Flash memory chips (NAND Flash) and CMOS Image Sensor (CIS) for a wide range of distinguished customers globally.) To develop and bring to market the new technology. The team has revealed in a press release that they will first attempt to use the technology to make Re-RAM a non-volatile memory solution that can work as a DRAM or hard drive type storage.*
The memristor works differently then typical RAM solutions which involve storing charges in capacitors and transistors and refreshing working effectively as a binary system of "On/true" when an electron is present and "Off/false" when the cell is vacant. The Memristor however works by pushing
electrons across a titanium dioxide chip, they nudge atoms ever so slightly, sometimes no more than a nanometer.
These subtle bumps record changes in the data.
Which could significantly change how our future computing will work, no longer will we have to rely on a "true/false" system, by using a variable movement system we get "How much" as such HP estimates that the system is 100 times as fast as flash storage and uses about a 10th of the energy. If these figures are accurate its quite possible that we will see the battery life of devices such as MP3 players, notebooks, netbooks and other portable electronics not reliant on radio signals (radio drains a great deal of battery power) increase greatly, anywhere from double to 10x!
Another Interesting comment from HP is that due to Memristor's non-binary nature it is possible for it to preform logical functions in addition to storing data, which could have the effect of combining processors and their memory in the near future!
Although no date has been official released I believe that since HP has already entered a partnership with Hynix that we should be seeing Memristor products within the next 5-10 years.
*Volatile in electronic memory refers to the transistor/capacitor's inability to maintain its charge without a constant electric current.