London: The microchip, an integrated circuit currently being used in almost all electronic gadgets and equipment, turned 50 on Friday.
The first working microchip was displayed by Jack Kilby of Texas Instruments on September 12, 1958. It consisted of a strip of germanium with one transistor and other components all glued to the side of a piece of glass.
In July 1958 Kilby was a fresh engineer at Texas Instruments who was not eligible for a summer vacation. So he spent the summer working on the problem in circuit design that was commonly called the “tyranny of numbers.” He concluded that manufacturing the circuit components on a mass scale in a single piece of semiconductor material could be the solution.
On September 12, he presented his findings to the Texas Instruments management. He showed them a piece of germanium with an oscilloscope attached, pressed a switch, and the oscilloscope showed a continuous sine wave. This proved that his integrated circuit worked. He had solved the problem.
Kilby’s rough device revolutionised electronics. The microchip virtually created the modern computer industry, and the Internet would be unthinkable without it. — PTI