Wednesday, April 8, 2015

TerraSwarm Researchers at the University of Michigan Develop "World's Smallest Computer"

TerraSwarm PIs David Blaauw and Prabal Dutta and others at the University of Michigan were in the news recently for their development of the 'Michigan Micro Mote' (M^3), the world’s smallest autonomous computer measuring only two millimeters across. These tiny computers, each as small as a grain of rice, are the first complete, operational computer systems of this size.  Prof. Blaauw explains:
“To be 'complete,' a computer system must have an input of data, the ability to process that data - meaning process and store it, make decisions about what to do next – and ultimately, the ability to output the data.The sensors are the input and the radios are the output. The other key to being a complete computer is the ability to supply its own power.”
The Michigan Micro Motes have the ability to work as smart sensing systems and perform functions such as taking pictures, reading temperatures or recording pressure readings and then transmitting this data back to the base station. The range of possible applications are vast, spanning medical to industrial uses.

According to Blaauw, one of the keys in developing the Micro Mote was scaling down the battery size, which is often one of the largest components of a computer. This was done by designing it to be programmed and charged via light.  By strobing light at a high frequency, the operator sends information to the computer. After processing the data, the Micro Mote is able to send the information to a central computer via conventional radio frequencies.

For more information about the Michigan Micro Motes and their possible applications, go to the news links below:

        No comments:

        Post a Comment

        Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.