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World’s Smallest Computer Unveiled By Scientists

smallestcomputerchipIn a bid to improve the treatment of glaucoma (a potentially blinding disease), scientists from the University of Michigan have designed the smallest computer system – a tiny one square millimetre device that can be implanted in a person’s eye to monitor pressure. In spite of its small size, the device contains an ultra low-power microprocessor, a pressure sensor, a thin film battery, memory, solar cell and a wireless radio with an antenna that is able to transmit data to an external reader device.

According to the researchers – Professors D. Sylvester, D. Blaauw and D. Wentzloff, the device’s radio could link to a wireless network of computers as it does not need to be tuned in order to find the right frequency. Meanwhile, the processor used in the eye pressure monitor is said to be the third generation of the researchers’ Phoenix chip, which uses a special design and and an extreme sleep mode for ultra-low power consumption.

Experts are already predicting the device, which is expected to becoming commercially available in some years time, as the future of the computing industry whereby similar units could be used for purposes such as surveillance and other monitoring devices. “The next big challenge is to achieve millimetre-scale systems, which have a host of new applications for monitoring our bodies, our environment and our buildings” said Professor Sylvester.

Talking Point

How far away is technology from creating even smaller, low-power computer systems that can collect, store and transmit useful data?

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  1. Waryam

    March 7, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    Quite Interesting.

  2. Twosteps: Legal Careers

    March 8, 2011 at 12:48 am

    That’s amazing – the realms of tiny computers and nano-technology is extremely exciting. If this is what is being achieved now, how long until we can go even ‘smaller’ – where tiny computer-based objects could be present within our bloodstreams.
    Fascinating news, and reminds me of the film Innerspace.
    Keep up the good work.

    • Admin

      March 14, 2011 at 12:50 am

      Absolutely spot on.

  3. silpada

    March 8, 2011 at 1:37 am

    It is the great achievement in the field of IT and we are hopeful that IT will also show some magics in this century.

  4. Jason

    March 8, 2011 at 10:56 pm

    I think that is really impressive what the scientists at the University of Michigan are doing.

    To answer your question, I think technology isn’t too far away from creating an even smaller computer system. It seems like technology is evolving each day.

    Thanks for sharing, this does make you think about how far technology has come over the past few years.

  5. Jon

    March 27, 2011 at 3:06 am

    That is REALLY cool…

    but a computer on your eye…that must get itchy.

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