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
- Why Pakistan won't hunt down the terrorists within its borders
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How academia's liberal bias is killing social science
- Sorry, GOP, tax cuts don't pay for themselves
- Pope Francis' American problem
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Why the Sony hack changes everything
- 10 things you need to know today: December 19, 2014
- 3 key insights about Obama from Chuck Todd's The Stranger
Subscribe to the Week