Physically smaller, less power-hungry solid-state drives could be on the way, after researchers came up with a new way to build the alternatives to spinning hard drives.

Japan's Keio University and its research partners used a new technique of stacking NAND flash memory chips on top of each other and connecting them with fewer wires to keep the resulting SSD as small as possible.

Smaller footbprint

The reduction in internal wires from 1,500 to just 200 means the SSD has a footprint one-eighth the size of conventional devices. Alternatively, more memory could be packed into the same area, meaning drives with larger capacities.

Keio's NAND chips communicate with those directly above and below themselves using inductive coupling, which is effectively a wireless data link – hence, only the bare minimum of traditional wires are needed in other parts of the SSD.