When it comes to encryption, embedded sensors that are hard pressed to optimize battery utilization and ensure longer life, cannot afford the memory and energy space required for it. Public-encryption rules and requirements are complex and are executed via a software in a computer network. However, it is different with Internet of Things (IoT) since it is connected with a wide array of sensors – be it in vehicles, civil structures, appliances, etc.
To overcome the challenge, researchers in MIT have created a new chip which is hardwired to carry out public-key encryption that guzzles just 1/400 of the power needed for software execution. Besides, it uses up about just 1/10 memory and is 500 times faster.
The team of researchers are expected to provide a lowdown on the new chip in a paper which they will presenting at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference this week.
New Chip Can Take on Any Elliptic Curve
Like other sophisticated systems for public-key encryption, the chip devised by the researchers leverages a technique named elliptic-curve encryption. It depends on a mathematical function known as elliptic curve. Earlier, the same group of MIT researchers built chips hardwired to deal with particular families of curves or elliptic curves. The new chip is different from them for it can take on any elliptic curve.
The chip can support various kinds of curves and hence cater to the varied standards set by different governments, explains the lead author of the report Utsav Bannerjee who happens to be an MIT graduate student.