Power efficiency is one of the most persistent obstacles in the tech world, and it's a problem so large that entire companies are dedicated to making things eat less energy. SuVolta is a Silicon Valley startup that says its PowerShrink technology can reduce the power consumption of certain chips by about 50 percent without reducing their speed. The company says that while chip process technology has shrunk from 130nm to 28nm, power requirements have hovered at 1.0 volts — but with its new technique, SuVolta says that it can run embedded chip memory using only 0.425 volts.

So how does it work? In simplified terms, the company's method involves inserting dopants — elements that change the electrical properties of a substance — to certain parts of a transistor in order to make the power requirements of individual transistors more consistent. This technique makes voltage requirements more predictable and helps reduce power waste.

SuVolta says its tech matches well with existing chip designs including SoCs and other circuits where power conservation is a concern, and it's already linked up with Fujitsu for demo products, with real chips using the tech due in the second half of 2012.