Systems on a chip are all over your house. But where?

Chad Underwood
3 min readAug 30, 2022

As you sit down on the couch, you turn on House of the Dragon.

You used the built in HBO app on your TV. You know it works but you’ve never thought about how. You assume there is a computer in there. Your assumption is right. But they’re not like the computer we described before.

These TV include a System on a Chip (SoC).

Photo by Vishnu Mohanan on Unsplash

caption for image

SoCs are found in many places in a home.

The one you use more than any other is probably in your hand right now. Your mobile phone. SoCs have many uses you interact with every day.

You use them every day but probably didn’t know you were.

Technologic breakthrough

SoCs were a major breakthrough in electronic technology.

An SoC includes a CPU, RAM, graphics processor, and anything else a device needs to function. Everything is on a single chip. Since everything is contained on one board, the technology allowed smaller and more reliable electronic devices to be designed.

SoCs paved the way for many of the devices we use on a daily basis.

Brief history lesson

1950s

First integrated circuit was created in 1958 by Jack Kilby of Texas Instruments

1960s

First commercial product to use an SoC was the Apollo Guidance Computer. It was developed by NASA in the 1960s for the Apollo program.

1970s

The term “system on a chip” was first coined by Carver Mead in 1978. He was working on a project at Caltech. The project was creating a single chip to perform the functions of an entire electronic system.

1980s

SOCs began to be used in a variety of consumer and industrial products, such as digital watches, calculators, and fax machines.

1990s

SOCs became increasingly popular in the telecommunications industry, as they were used in cell phones, modems, and other wireless devices.

2000s

--

--

Chad Underwood

American writer sharing experiences in life, writing, technology, and content creation.