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Tuesday, 08 March 2011 11:41

Boffins create a millimeter scale computer

Written by Nick Farell
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Endless applications
Boffins at the University of Michigan researchers have created the first prototype of a millimeter-scale computing system.

Dubbed the Phoenix chip, is about 1 cubic millimeter and was designed to be implanted in the human eye. It does not have a big job to do. All it has to do is monitor the intraocular pressure of glaucoma patients but it is a fully working computer.

According to Dennis Sylvester, a University of Michigan professor and one of the researchers on the project the computer is an ultra-low-power microprocessor, a pressure sensor, memory, a thin-film battery, a solar cell and a wireless radio with an antenna that can transmit data to an external reader.

It uses only 5.3 nanowatts each time it turns on and can go into an extreme sleep most.  The boffins think that such tiny computers could one day be used to track pollution, monitor structural integrity, perform surveillance, or mak virtually any object smart and trackable. Basically it collects data and stores it.

More here.


Nick Farell

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