The image: Researchers at the University of Michigan have created a computer so small that it would fit on any of the letters in this this sentence. Still, this tiny machine packs some serious hardware: A low-power microprocessor, a pressure sensor, memory, a battery, a solar cell, and a wireless radio. That last function is key, because the world's smallest computer isn't just for show — it will be used as "an implantable eye pressure monitor for glaucoma patients." Doctors would place the device in a patient's eye, where it would periodically take a measurement, then communicate the results to a separate device. It's expected that the micro-computer will be available commercially in a few years.
The reaction: This micro machine's usefulness will extend far beyond hospitals, says Discover; "if this tiny technology takes off, you could see the same ideas used for other monitors, like tiny pollution tracking gadgets." Indeed, the computer's developers are already looking ahead. As quoted by Live Science, machine's co-creator David Blaauw says that, "the next big challenge is to achieve millimeter-scale systems, which have a host of new applications for monitoring our bodies, our environment and our buildings." Check out the tiny computer for yourself:
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Watch out, China — America is working on dogfighting drones
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How liberals are unwittingly paving the way for the legalization of adult incest
- How the Simpsons/Family Guy crossover revealed the worst of both shows
- Why the Chinese military is only a paper dragon
- The troubling persistence of eugenicist thought in modern America
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- Why America won't have enough money to battle ISIS
- Libertarianism's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad idea
Subscribe to the Week