IBM announces computer smaller than a grain of salt

Technological innovation never fails to astound. As mobile devices evolve, becoming ever more powerful and versatile, and new software or cloud solutions emerge, advancements in computing constantly change how we understand digital potential.

Today is no exception. As of yesterday, there is now a computer so minuscule that a grain of salt would literally dwarf it.

No need to adjust your glasses – you did not read that wrong. In a development that seems to come straight from a science fiction movie, IBM engineers have developed the planet’s smallest computer. This was announced on day one of IBM Think 2018, the firm’s prominent yearly conference.

According to a Mashable report, this device is so tiny that you cannot see it with the naked eye – you need a microscope. Its actual size is 1nm x 1nm. Even at that size, it accommodates a few hundred transistors – and it packs the same power as the x86 chip built during the 1990s.

IBM predicts that these micro-computers will be used as data sources for blockchain applications. They will help devices to carry out basic Artificial Intelligence tasks and to track fraud, goods shipments and theft.

The firm also anticipates that tiny computers such as this will, before the end of 2023, find their way into electronic devices we use every day.

Arvind Krishna, IBM’s head of research, said: “Within the next five years, cryptographic anchors – such as ink dots or tiny computers smaller than a grain of salt – will be embedded in everyday objects and devices.”