Texas Instruments claims its 16-bit microcontroller is the world's lowest-power device, but a new version implementing an experimental design technique conceived at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology promises another 10-fold cut in power consumption. The new low-power chip design will be described Tuesday (Feb. 5) by TI and MIT engineers at the International Solid State Circuits Conference in San Francisco. "These design techniques show great potential for future low-power integrated circuits," said Dennis Buss, chief scientist at Texas Instruments. The design technique works by powering parts of the chip at just 0.3 volts, or as much as 10 times less power than normal. This was accomplished by designing on-chip, high-efficiency DC-to-DC conversions to operate circuitry that normally hogs current. The system-on-a-chip solution required redesigning select memory and logic circuits to operate at the lower voltage.