Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed a unique approach to configurable technology chip ware that could help reduce electronic waste, partially adopting a model used in a universally popular children’s toy.
According to an article posted on the website of Interesting Engineering, the researchers explored the idea that electronic chips could be connected without hardwiring but instead with stackable and reconfigurable connections similar to those used in LEGO-style building bricks. Their design experiments included alternating layers of sensing and processing elements, combined with light-emitting diodes (LEDs) that allow different chips to interact optically.
The use of LEDs to transmit data between chips in a given configuration would enable developers to swap out legacy chips and reinstall newer chip technology without the need to rewire the design. Ultimately, this approach could increase the useful life of many chip-based technologies and reduce the amount of waste generated from the disposal of outdated electronics.