Uses of Microchips

By Cora Lauderdale

Microchips are integrated circuits. The integrated circuit was co-invented by Jack Kilby from Texas Instruments and James Noyce from Fairchild Semiconductor in the late 1950s. The integrated circuit was an improvement from the vacuum tube and transistor. The integrated circuit did not burn out easily. It also allowed wires to interconnect on silicon wafers and perform different tasks.

Integrated Chip Function

The integrated circuit began as a controller switch that performed a specific task. The integrated circuit could be used in traffic lights, radios or meters to turn the device on or off. The parts of an integrated circuit are the transistor that acts like an on and off switch, the resistor which controls the electricity currents that move back and forth between the transistors, the capacitor which collects and releases electricity, and the diode which stops the flow of electricity.

Microchip Advances

Microchips are used in many electrical devices besides a computer. In the 1960s, federal government agencies began purchasing microchips for their projects. The Air Force used microchips to build the Minuteman II missile. NASA purchased microchips for their Apollo project. Today, microchips are used in cellular phones that allow people to use the Internet and have a telephone video conference. Microchips are used to keep track of activities and information. Microchips are also used in televisions, GPS tracking devices and identification cards.

Moore's Law

Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel studied the development of microchips and predicted microchips' improvement over time. Moore's law states with the doubling of transistors every 18 to 24 months, microchips will improve in performance. With Intel, AMD (Advance Micro Devices) and IBM designing and developing microchips, they are being used for many other purposes.

Green Chip

In July 2006, Intel developed the microchip Intel Core 2 Duo that runs on less energy, has longer battery life and better performance. In February 2009, scientist at Rice University developed a microchip to save energy. So instead of charging your cell phone within 5 to 7 days, you can charge your phone within hours.


Instead of doctors using a computer to detect cancer, microchips are being using to detect cancer at a faster pace in patients. Scientists at the University of Toronto have used a microchip to detect the type of cancer and the progression of the cancer. Patients can be told of their prognosis within hours instead of waiting days for lab results.


Microchips have made many advances in technology and can be found in many devices today. Microchips' unique way of collecting data and sending data to its correct destination has made information easier to handle.