IBM launched the world’s smallest computer at the ongoing IBM Think 2018 Conference in Las Vegas. The 1mm x1mm unnamed new computer supersedes its predecessor which measured 2 mm across. The unveiling is part of IBM’s “5 in 5” — a range of inventions and technologies that could fundamentally reshape business and society in the next five years.
Although finer details are yet to be disclosed, what’s got the whole tech community excited is the size — the computer is finer than a grain of fancy salt, yet comprises a set of 64 motherboards, a processor having several hundred thousand transistors, SRAM memory, a photovoltaic cell for power, and a communications unit that uses an LED and a photo-detector to talk with the outside world.
The main rationale behind developing these small computers is to use them as cryptographic anchors to prevent counterfeiting. By embedding these tiny machines into everyday objects, “they’ll be used in tandem with blockchain’s distributed ledger technology to ensure an object’s authenticity from its point of origin to when it reaches the hands of the customer. These technologies pave the way for new solutions that tackle food safety, the authenticity of manufactured components, genetically modified products, identification of counterfeit objects and provenance of luxury goods” said IBM.