IBM has made a computer that's smaller than a grain of salt

James Marshall
March 19, 2018

IBM's new computer, which it will detail at its Think 2018 conference on Monday, contains up to 1 million transistors, along with a small amount of static random access memory, a light-emitting diode (LED) and photo-detector that allow it to communicate, and an integrated photovoltaic cell for power.

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.

With the time, computers have gotten a lot smaller but powerful. The computer is hard to identify with the naked eye without the help of a microscope. The smallest computer to be unveiled by IBM is allegedly "smaller than a grain of salt". As this was the 90s, the computers in question were, in fact, anything but small.

The processor is created to help track goods and combat fraud in the global supply chain, and while it won't be doing heavy lifting or have much in common with what most people consider a computer, IBM claims it will be capable of monitoring, analyzing and sorting data, thanks to having access to about as much power as a 1990s x86 processor.

IBM is a leader in the tech research, and CFO James Kavanaugh recently credited blockchain as one of the technologies which helped pull the company out of a revenue rut after 22 quarters of decline.

Blockchain already streamlines data, removes the hassle of paperwork and cuts costs within the supply chain. It's meant to help track the shipment of goods and detect theft, fraud, and non-compliance.

According to IBM, this is only the beginning. According to the report, the chip measures "just a few atoms thick, the diameter of two DNA helices".

This tiny computer by IBM could potentially revolutionize the use of computers. They're not kidding: It's literally smaller than a grain of salt.

IBM describes crypto-anchors as "tamper-proof digital fingerprints" that are linked to the blockchain, and says its researchers are developing the chips to be embedded into products.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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