The integrated circuit, also known as the semiconductor chip, celebrates its 50th birthday this month, and now chip makers are looking to integrate even more functionality into a single chip.
The integrated chip holds all the components of a circuit in a single slab.
It was invented by American engineer Jack Kirby in 1958.
His invention paved the way for the Internet, home PCs and mobile phones, by making intelligent electronic devices small and affordable.
Now, the big challenge is to reduce the power consumption of microchips, whilst increasing their capabilities.
With mobile handset and laptop sizes getting smaller, pressure is rising to reduce the space taken up by the chips that power the devices.
Apple’s wireless technology products include a chip that integrates Wi-Fi and Bluetooth functionality, designed by Broadcom.
Meanwhile, other telecoms companies such as Atheros Communications, CSR, NXP Semiconductors, Texas Instruments, and Infineon Technologies have introduced other integrated solutions, including Wi-Fi-GPS chips, Bluetooth-FM chips, Bluetooth-GPS and Bluetooth Audio.
Integrated chips reduce power consumption, helping to cut back the carbon footprint of mobile devices and increasing handset life.