Michigan Micro Mote (M^3) is a Working Computer the Size of a Grain of Rice


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Here's an intriguing bit of off-topic news for you guys today.

If you blinked you might miss it. The above image is of a breakthrough new computing device which shows just how far our miniaturization technology has come. The device is called the Michigan Micro Mote (M^3), and it is basically a working computer device which is roughly the same size as a grain of rice.

The Micro Mote is believed to be the smallest autonomous computer in the world, and can take pictures, read temperatures and record pressure readings. The purpose of the tiny PC is primarily to assist in the medical and industrial fields, but it could potentially help the evolution of "The Internet of Things" as well. Here's a quote with a few more details,

Due to its micro-size, the M^3 can actually be injected into the body, where it can then perform ECGs and also take pressure and temperature readings. The oil industry is also interested in inserting the Micro Mote into oil wells to help detect pockets of oil that can still be extracted before moving on to new sources.

The Michigan faculty sees the Micro Mote as a way to never lose anything again. The vision is that people would buy a couple of M^3s and stick the computers to their keys, wallet, and anything else they don't want to lose. And using a central system, people would be able to locate their belongings within the confines of their home.

The developers of the M^3 explained that the biggest problem in its development was getting the battery down to size, and having the device still be functional afterward. The most innovative characteristic of the Micro Mote is the way the device communicates its data and is charged. Here's another quote with those details,

With no space for a keyboard, mouse or display, the faculty and students had to invent a different way to communicate with the Micro Mote. The M^3 is programmed and charged via light. 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.

Apparently, the M^3 is ready for production now, and the faculty and staff are already working on developing even smaller devices they call smart dust. Dennis Sylvester, professor of computer science and engineering at the University of Michigan, said "Going forward there's no reason you can't keep pushing that. Can't get to a hundred microns on a side. And then you can get chips inside cells. It's an easy thing to see as, you know, making science fiction a reality."

Isn't it an amazing time wee live in? :D

Source: This working computer is smaller than a grain of rice - CNET


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It's the beginning of sapient nanotechnology!