Technology

A Computer Smaller Than a Rice Grain

A group of researchers at the University of Michigan have built a microdevice which is the smallest computer ever. It measures 0.3 mm on each side and is so small that it gets dwarfed by a grain of rice. It has RAM, photovoltaics, processors, and wireless transmitters and receivers. It is called Michigan Micro Mote. This device differs from traditional computers in not having a permanent storage. It loses data as soon as it is switched off. David Blaauw, a professor of electrical and computer engineering, who led the development of the new system, said that he is not sure whether to call this devise a computer. It is devised as a precision temperature sensor. To receive and transmit data it lacks the conventional antenna instead it uses visible light for sending data. The Mote gets its power to run its programs in the form of light from a base station and data is sent to the base station. Mote is able to convert temperatures into time intervals, defined with electronic impulses. The base station sends a steady time intervals against which the Mote’s intervals are measured and converted into temperature.
Mote is being used in oncology to measure temperature differences between a tumour and normal cells to measure the effectiveness of the treatment. The team said the device can be programmed to do a different role and for a different purpose.

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