Microprocessors are tiny integrated circuits – chips – which are embedded in electronic devices. They are used in smartphones, tablets, TV’s, cat flaps, vending machines, smart thermostats, burglar alarms, cars, fitbits, wireless headphones… The list is endless.
Sophie Wilson designed the ‘software’ – the instruction set – for the most popular microprocessor in the world – the Arm RISC chip. 95% of smartphones use this chip, and you can find it in millions of other devices across the world.
By the way, the image above is of a scaled UP chip. The real sized chip is that tiny thing in her hand. They certainly cram lots of electronics on a chip.
Read more about Sophie’s work on the cs4fn website.
Science and Computing: If you have access to microcontrollers such as the crumble controller or the micro:bit, see if can spot the components that are on the devices. Perhaps, use a microscope to see the tiny electronic components and connections. On the internet, look-up the circuit schematics for the device and see what the key features there are such as the power supply, main processor and connectors.
Some devices might have outputs such as lights or inputs, such as sensors to measure temperature.