Tuesday, December 7

The world’s smallest “computer” is so small that a grain of rice looks like a mountain next to it


It was March 2018 when IBM launched the, at that time, smallest computer in the world. It was a 1×1 millimeter gadget that had the power from a 1990 x86 chip. It didn’t move ‘Crysis’, but it was most curious.

However, things tend to get smaller and smaller and IBM’s tiny device, which beat the previous champion developed by the University of Michigan, was soon replaced by an even smaller one. Developed by whom? By the University of Michigan, of course.

0.3 x 0.3 millimeters, there is nothing

The smallest computer in the world in 2014 compared to the 2018 model.

The story is the following. The University of Michigan He launched in 2015 the Michigan Micro Mote, also known as M ^ 3, a computer about two millimeters long. Three years later, in March 2018, IBM announced theirs, which was even smaller, at 1×1 millimeters. The competition was served.

On June 21, 2018, the University of Michigan returned to the load with the launch of an even smaller “computer”, this time without such a cool name, 0.3 x 0.3 mm. This has RAM memory and a photovoltaic energy system that, oriented to a base station, provides the light for power and data reception.

Micro Mote Fcontent

Because yes, being so small it cannot have conventional radio antennas, so use the light. From the UM they explained that one of the remains was to make it work at very low power, since the light from the base station and the device’s own transmission LED can induce current in its circuits.

According to David Blaauw, professor of electrical and computer engineering and project manager, “We had to invent new ways of approaching circuit design so that they would have an equally low consumption but that they could also tolerate light. “For this, for example, they changed the gods (which were, say, solar panels) for switched capacitors.

The device was designed as a precision temperature sensor. Basically, it converts temperatures into time intervals, defined with electronic pulses. According to the University, “the computer can report temperatures in tiny regions, such as a group of cells, with an error of about 0.1 degrees Celsius.”

As Gary Luker, professor of radiology and biomedical engineering, explained, “We are using this temperature sensor to investigate temperature variations within a tumor versus normal tissue and whether we can use temperature changes to determine the success or failure of the therapy”.

The question that remains in the air is:can be considered a computer? When the device is turned off it loses all the data, like the one from IBM, but according to Blaauw, “we are not sure if they should be called computers or not. It is more a matter of opinion if they have the minimum functionality required.”



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