Just how much space do you need to create a compete working computer? If you’re IBM the answer to that is “Not much at all”, which might explain how the company has managed to create the world’s smallest functional PC. That header image above? That shows 64 of the computer’s motherboards sandwiched together on a single chip.
Unveiled at the IBM Think conference, this little critter measures just 1mm by 1mm but it’s got the computing power of an x86 processor from the nineties… which isn’t a lot, before you point that out for us, but it does take up a significantly smaller footprint than the old x86 hardware.
And it’s not just the processor sitting on the grain-of-salt-sized footprint either. The tiny PC consists of the processor, static RAM, an LED communications unit and a photo-voltaic cell — enough bits to make it a standalone computer.
Just what do you use something like this for? According to IBM’s head of research Arvind Krishna, “Within the next five years, cryptographic anchors — such as ink dots or tiny computers smaller than a grain of salt — will be embedded in everyday objects and devices”. Applications in blockchain, AI, and product tracking are all on the cards.
At present, though, this super-tiny PC is still a prototype in testing at IBM Research. No release date has been thrown out but we’d be surprised if it takes five years to hit the market. Whether you’ll be able to buy one as a commercial user is another story – it’s difficult to box and sell something that you need a microscope to see properly.
Source: via Mashable