It looks like a bit of one-upmanship is getting the better of IBM, as researches at the University of Michigan went ahead and created a computer which comes in at a scant 0.3mm.
Earlier this year IBM announced it was building the world’s smallest computer, which measured 1 mm X 1 mm.
For comparison sakes, the mini PC developed by University of Michigan researchers is roughly 1/10 the size of IBM’s creation.
It also beats out the previous record holder, the Michigan Micro Mote which was introduced back in 2015 and came in at 2 mm X 2mm X 4 mm.
For many of us, it’s hard to imagine not only the manufacturing process that goes into creating these machines but the future applications needed to facilitate such products.
Take your conventional laptop or desktop PC for example. They have RAM, processors, power supplies, motherboards, hard drives, accessories and more, that are not only required to run but also when they are working together, they generate heat.
That heat needs to be passively or actively cooled in some way. Heat and dust buildup are significant enemies to electronic devices.
These microdevices do not have the luxury external cooling systems, nor the size to carry modern-sized internal hardware for that purpose.
So the challenge of designing a tiny computer that won’t overheat, and one that will run efficiently is not a small task for researchers.
The U-M researchers note that once a desktop computer is unplugged, all of its program and data are still present after it is booted up. This is not the case with their microdevices, as all of that program and data are lost once unplugged.
One of the big challenges in making a computer about 1/10th the size of IBM’s was how to run at very low power when the system packaging had to be transparent. The light from the base station—and from the device’s own transmission LED—can induce currents in its tiny circuits.
The primary focus for this tiny computer is geared towards the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer by using small temperature sensors. The researchers can implant and monitor the various fluctuations within a tumor and compare the results to that of healthy tissue.
It reminds one of the bio bots that U.S military researchers may or may not be working on at this time.
Bio implantable chips that can deliver electrical stimuli to regions of the body affected by trauma, to quickly heal.
The success of failure of these devices solely depends on studies that will decide their viability in today’s world.
Computers are getting smaller, and quantum computing is opening up the possibility of new horizons for our civilization.