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U Michigan Startup Develops RRAM Prototype for Faster, More Efficient Mobile Device Memory

Crossbar, a University of Michigan (U-M) startup, has developed a working prototype of an advanced data storage technology that could revolutionize memory for mobile devices.

The technology is called "resistive random access memory" (RRAM), and it's a new type of nonvolatile memory, meaning that it stores information even when it's powered down. According to Wei Lu, chief scientist at Crossbar, the company's technology "can offer higher memory densities and faster speeds at lower prices." Crossbar's RRAM prototype offers up to 1 TB of storage on a chip that performs 20 times faster, uses 20 times less power, and has 10 times the endurance of today's best-in-class flash memory, according to information from U-M. In other words, Crossbar's RRAM could be capable of storing 250 hours of high definition video and holding a charge for a week.

Once it's available on the market, RRAM could replace the flash memory currently used in tablets, digital cameras, solid-state drives, and smartphones. "With our working Crossbar array, we have achieved all the major technical milestones that prove our RRAM technology is easy to manufacture and ready for commercialization," said George Minassian, CEO of Crossbar, in a prepared statement. "It's a watershed moment for the nonvolatile memory industry."

Crossbar is part of the University of Michigan's Tech Transfer program, which seeks to transfer the university's technology to the marketplace. The startup licensed the RRAM technology from U-M in 2010 and used it to develop the working prototype. So far, Crossbar has received a total of $25 million in funding from the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers (KPCB) and the Michigan Investment in New Technology Startups (MINTS) program. Crossbar is headquartered in Santa Clara, CA.

Further information about the RRAM technology can be found on Crossbar's site.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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