IBM has unveiled the world’s smallest computer at its Think 2018 computer show.
Smaller than a grain of salt the 1mm squared chip requires a microscope to see it. Consisting of tiny computer bristles with several hundred thousand transistors the tiny IBM chip reportedly has the computing power of an x86 chip from back in 1990.
The tiny devices are part of IBM’s vision for future technology that will be ‘cryptographic anchors’ embedded in everyday objects, used to ensure the object’s authenticity in combination with blockchain tech. Costing less than 10 cents to produce, the tiny chips are seen as an anti-fraud measure. For example, they could be applied to expensive gadgets so you can be sure you’re buying the real thing and not a knock-off, or these tiny computers could even be embedded in things like malaria pills as (edible) ink dots, again to ensure that patients are getting the genuine drug and not a fake.
The firm observed: “These technologies pave the way for new solutions that tackle food safety, authenticity of manufactured components, genetically modified products, identification of counterfeit objects and provenance of luxury goods.”
The last ‘world’s smallest computer’ to make a big splash was the Michigan Micro Mote in 2015, which measured 2mm across, double the size of IBM’s latest creation.