Is the Worlds Smallest Computer Really a Computer

first_imgStay on target Not to be outdone by IBM, the University of Michigan has created the “world’s smallest computer.”Though whether it should really be considered a computer is up for debate.Traditionally, when you unplug a desktop or laptop machine, its programming and data are still accessible once you turn the power back on. But these new microdevices—from IBM and Michigan—lose all prior input as soon as they lose energy.AdChoices广告“We are not sure if they should be called computers or not,” David Blaauw, a professor of electrical and computer engineering, admitted. “It’s more of a matter of opinion whether they have the minimum functionality required.”Blaauw led the development of this new system—a follow up to 2015’s Michigan Micro Mote (M3)—alongside Dennis Sylvester and Jamie Phillips, als professors of ECE.At first glance, the wee device looks like an impressively tiny data processor: It boasts RAM, photovoltaics, processors, wireless transmitters, and receivers—all in a package smaller than a grain of rice.A package one-tenth the size of IBM’s microscopic machine, introduced in March. The computer, according to Mashable, costs less than 10 cents to manufacture, and packs “several hundred thousand transistors,” allowing it to “monitor, analyze, communicate, and even act on data.”But beating IBM at its own game is not easy: The Michigan team had to figure out a way to run their Lilliputian mainframe at very low power.“We basically had to invent new ways of approaching circuit design that would be equally low power but could also tolerate light,” Blaauw said.Designed as a precision temperature sensor, U-M’s latest device converts temperatures into time intervals, defined with electronic pulses.The so-called computer—capable of reporting temps in miniscule regions (i.e. a cluster of cells) with an error rate of about 0.1℃—could also be reimagined for “a variety of purposes,” like oil reservoir monitoring, tiny snail studies, and surveillance.But for now, researchers are exploring its use in oncology, answering questions about temperature in tumors.“Since the temperature sensor is small and biocompatible, we can implant it into a mouse and cancer cells grow around it,” collaborator Gary Luker, a professor of radiology and biomedical engineering, said in a statement.“We are using this temperature sensor to investigate variations in temperature within a tumor versus normal tissue and if we can use changes in temperature to determine success or failure of therapy,” he added. Alan Turing Chosen as New Face of England’s £50 NoteKano’s DIY Two-in-One Laptop For Kids Runs Windows 10 last_img

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