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The world’s smallest computer

March 22, 2018.

World’s smallest computer.

Silicon support with no less than 64 computers. © IBM.

IBM has unveiled the world’s smallest computer — a device the size of a grain of salt. Presented at the Think 2018 conference in Las Vegas, the chip measures only 1x1mm, but has the processing power of an x86, i.e. that of the first IBM desktop computers from the 1990s, altogether respectable, given its size. This complete system on a chip (SoC) — with a processor, memory, a photovoltaic cell for power supply, a communication unit that uses an LED and a photo-detector to communicate with the outside world — was developed as an anti-fraud device. It could be built into price tags or product packaging, allowing data to be recorded during transit and stocking, and for example, it would show if the product was handled correctly in transit, all to improve supply chain security. It will cost less than 10 cents to make. Still in the prototype stage, these chips could also be used to authenticate products that were bought online, such as food, pharmaceuticals and luxury items to ensure they haven’t been altered.

Circuit Breaker, “IBM just unveiled the ‘world’s smallest computer’.”