How small is the size of a computer intact can be shortlisted? IBM, this week, introduced a computer that is claimed to be the smallest in the world. Its size is only 1×1 mm, smaller than the grain of rice or even salt though.
Although tiny, the device is complete consisting of processors, memory, and communication units embedded in a special motherboard. Computing power is comparable to x86 desktop computers from the 1990s. It’s power is not as big as mobile chips today, let alone a modern desktop computer.
However, it is intended for different purposes, namely tracking authenticity and delivery on the basis of distributed ledger technology. Distributed ledger is a recording of decentralized transactions that are used as the basis of cryptocurrency technology alias virtual currency.
In the case of this delivery, IBM’s tiny computer could function as a kind of “digital watermark” embedded in the goods to prevent counterfeiting and misuse in the logistics path. The size is small so it can be embedded in various objects, including packing boxes.
The price is called going cheap, about 10 cents dollars per unit. “This small technology will provide new solutions for food safety issues, component authenticity, genetically engineered goods, and identification of counterfeit goods and the origins of luxury goods,” said IBM Research Head Arvind Krishna
Outside logistics, there are many other possible uses for the unnamed mini-computer. In fact, with a few hundred thousand transistors in it, the computer would be able to run a simple artificial intelligence program. The little computer is now in the development stage. IBM has not revealed when it will be ready for use in the industry, except for predictions “within the next five years”.