The World’s Tiniest Computer

We’re a long way from the 1960s when mainframe computers took up entire rooms. Now, there’s a one millimeter cubed computer that can fit on the edge of a nickel.

Mnet 186324 Microcomputer 1

We’re a long way from the 1960s when mainframe computers took up entire rooms (other than IBM’s Watson… but that’s an artificially intelligent system). Now, there’s a one millimeter cubed computer that can fit on the edge of a nickel. Called the Michigan Micro Mote (M^3), it’s believed to be the smallest autonomous computer in the world.

The secret to the success of the M^3 is its power settings. To make the computer as small as possible, researchers had to find a way to scale down the battery size. According to a CNET report:

"What people don't realize is a very large part of the volume of a computer for instance in a cell phone is actually consumed by the battery," said David Blaauw, professor of computer science and engineering at the University of Michigan. "So by bringing down the power, we can bring down the battery size, and we can bring down the whole system down in size."

Designed with the Internet of Things (IoT) in mind, the M^3 takes pictures, reads temperatures and records pressure reading. The hope is to begin using the microcomputer in medical and industrial settings.

Take a look at the M^3 and how it came about:

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