World’s Smallest Computer: No its not Raspberry Pi
Yeah, Worlds Smallest Computer is not Raspberry Pi neither Intel’s Compute Stick its Michigan Micro Mote (M3)
Michigan Micro Mote is the smallest computer in the world, it’s not something like Apple’s Macbook which is small and light weight. Let me tell you that it shares the same size as a grain of rice.
Forget the Raspberry Pi or the Intel Compute Stick. The real ultra-microcomputer is the Michigan Micro Mote M3, which measures 1 mm cubed.
Of course its not full fledged desktop computer but, can do tiny analytics such as pressure readings, temperatures, and imaging. It could also be implanted for medical diagnosis or used in oil wells to sense deeper reserves of hard-to-get oil.
Now those old days are gone when we had bulky computers and machinery, as now it is the world of compact things, hence, the smartphones are getting slimmer and computers too. If we flash back to our old days then we can easily remember that we had bulky desktop computers and televisions which were now replaced by the advanced technologies, such as LCDs and LEDs. However, nowadays the kids are having tablets and many other portable machines which are much lighter and also helps them to develop their brains in a more innovative way. Therefore, one thing is clear that smaller is better.
David Blaauw the professor at University of Michigan that this is enough for the mini-machine to satisfy the definition of a computer: “the ability to process that data—meaning process and store it, make decisions about what to do next—and ultimately, the ability to output the data.” It is so small, it can fully settle on a coin. it is the first computer in the world that measures only two millimeters in width. It can receive data, can process tasks.
One of the major challenges that were faced by the creators was the fact that this tiny device will not have keyboard or mouse. Michigan Micro Mote is eventually designed to be programmed and charged with light. Micro Mote is equipped with solar cells that charge the battery ambient light. Moreover, it doesn’t completely rely on natural sunlight and it also uses light in indoor rooms.
According to the reports “By strobing light at a high frequency, the operator is able to send information to the computer. Once the Micro Mote processes the data, it is able to send the information to a central computer via conventional radio frequencies”
In the IoT world, size and power are everything. The computers have to be small in order to sense the world around us without being intrusive, and they have to run on extremely low power to match their size.
The Michigan Micro Mote constitutes the first complete, operational computer system measuring as small as two millimeters across. “To be “complete,” a computer system must have an input of data, the ability to process that data – meaning process and store it, make decisions about what to do next – and ultimately, the ability to output the data.” Prof. Blaauw explained. “The sensors are the input and the radios are the output. The other key to being a complete computer is the ability to supply its own power.”
There are currently three different systems in the M3 family, focusing on several different applications: sensing temperature, pressure, and taking images.
The Michigan Micro Mote is built in stacked layers which are able to communicate through a specially-designed universal interface protocol called MBus. Each M3computer contains the following layers:
- solar cell and optical communication photo cell
- harvester control electronics layer
- radio layer
- sensor interface layer (temp sensor and capacitive interface electronics)
- layer with capacitors for stabilizing the power supplies (“decap” layer)
- processor + memory + power regulation layer
- optional layer for pressure sensor, imager, etc.
This mini computer is packed with Phoenix processor which just requires 500 pico-watts in standby mode. As we already mentioned it can charge in a room with no sunlight. Several medical professionals are interested in this microcomputer since it is small enough to be inserted into the human body. This mini computer can take pictures, measure temperatures and record body pressure, features that are enough to help the healthcare industry.
According to the reports, The Michigan Micro Mote is ready for production. In fact, the research team at Michigan University is looking forward to building even smaller computers which they named as “Smart Dust”
While it may not be ready to stream Netflix, the rice-sized device is a big step toward making smaller and smaller computers. It can communicate with other computers just a few feet away via radio, thus enabling a sort of super-microcomputer processing power. It’s hard to imagine where the ultra-low-power computer couldn’t go.
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