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Ever think of why your phone can do all it does?

March 28, 2017

We’ll give you a hint – it’s not magic pixies…Is your phone your personal assistant, navigation, entertainment, camera, basic source of knowledge? Is it the first thing you check in the morning?

 

In the last 10 years, our cell phones became so much more than just phones, and all of this is possible because of a tiny piece of hardware in your phone, no bigger than your thumb.

It’s called a processor and the person to thank for it is Sophie Wilson.

 

From cow feeders and slot machines all the way up to cell phones.

We all know that each journey starts with a first step and Wilson’s story is no different. Her first success was a cow feeder regulator she developed as a student. Why was it so successful? It implemented a low-cost microchip, making it affordable to a great number of everyday users. 

Wilson followed this up with an even more peculiar project. She was tasked with fixing an issue with overgenerous slot machines. The manufacturer reported that lighting a certain type of electric cigarette lighter prompted the slot machines to pay out.  

Wilson solved the issue and was rewarded with a job of chief designer. Her next task? To create affordable, user-friendly personal computers. She oversaw the process and the build from the ground up.

 

An accidental coincidence that powers your cell phone.

The result was a great success that lead Wilson and her company to focus their efforts on the development of the processor. It took them less than a couple of years to have the first commercial chip ready.

The chip’s best feature, its low power consumption, was purely coincidental. The team used plastic in the build to cut costs and had to adjust the chip’s workings to accommodate the material. The adjustment was so successful that the chip now powered itself from excess energy of the surrounding elements, not needing any direct power supply to run. The low power consumption of the chip is also why its descendants can be found in most of today’s mobile devices.

In Wilson’s career, she came up with over 50 patents, among them the predecessor to what is today found in laptops, digital TVs, cable boxes and printers and most importantly, more than 95% of all smart devices.

 

So, thank you, Sophie Wilson, for your invention, without which the Chipolo could not have been made a reality.

This blog post concludes our women’s month celebration and we’d just like to say Thank You to all the amazing women whose efforts remain anonymous. Although they may not be celebrated publicly, their influence and deeds can be felt and seen in everything we all do, so don’t forget to celebrate it all!

And while you’re at it, keep an eye on our shop if you’re feeling lucky this week!