IBM Is Developing The World’s Smallest Computer

IBM building in Amsterdam.

IBM is touting a new microscopic computer that can help businesses authenticate their products.

American tech company, IBM, is currently working on a tiny computer, one that can easily slip through a salt shaker. Its minuscule size has purpose however as it can help prevent smuggling counterfeit drugs, gadgets, and money.

The multinational company announced the new computer on Monday at its Think conference. According to IBM, the microcomputer will be a complete system-on-a-chip (SoC) outfitted with a processor, memory, storage, and a communication module. In addition, the CPU contains several hundred thousand transistors which will allow the computer to perform akin to an x86 CPU from 1990. While this feature alone is not impressive considering the lightning speed CPUs we have nowadays, it is revolutionary for such a small device.

The chip is currently in early stages of development, however, IBM already knows what it will do with this microcomputer. IBM claims that the new computer will be a significant advancement for blockchain technology, but not the same blockchain that’s used to track cryptocurrency transactions. IBM, as well as other tech companies, have been looking for ways to use blockchain, which is nothing more than a distributed ledger, to authenticate other goods.

The company says that the devices cost a mere 10 cents to manufacture. More so, IBM believes that the microscopic size and cost of production will allow them to integrate the device into products to ensure goods are authentic as they move through the supply chain and on to consumers.

The microcomputers will be solar-powered and would be embedded in products. They would then rely on LED lights to communicate with a network. Thus, any business could ensure and prove the authenticity of each product or component with one of IBM’s devices.

According to the company, the first of these microcomputers could become available within 18 months. The tiny chips would be used for food safety, pharmaceuticals, genetically modified goods, and other products.

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