M3 autonomous 1mm computer might be the world's smallest

Computers are getting exponentially smaller. Ahead of the curve is the Michigan Micro Mote, or the M3. Designed with the Internet of Things (IoT) in mind and measuring in at ony 1 cubic mm, this autonomous computer might be the smallest computer in the world. It packs sensors and other features into a package about the sie of a grain of rice. It's amazing to consider that the computing power of today's smartwatch was not only impossible 60 years ago; computers that amounted to basic graphing calculators took up the space of entire rooms.

Created by a research team at the University of Michigan, the scaled-down M3 is more than just a minature sensor. It is a complete computing node with wireless sensing and incorporates signal processing, memory, and a low-resolution imager alongside a temperature sensor, and on-board CMOS timer. The diminutive device communicates over Wi-Fi and charges a small battery by harnessing solar energy.

This tiny computer could speed development of the Internet of Things (IoT) which is a bit like a futuristic envisioning of a smarthouse on steroids. The IoT is a concept wherein everyday devices from light switches and air conditioners to tables and doorknobs have embedded integrated circuitry that allows the devices to wirelessly communicate with each other.

When it comes to the IoT, size is incredibly important. No one would want a smart coffee maker the size of a dishwasher. Likewise, objects like smart keys would need incredibly small computing components. Another important factor for the IoT, is that devices be able to charge themselves wirelessly. The M3 can perpetually charge itself using ambient light, so it never needs an external power source, making it ideal for incorporation into everyday objects.

Check out the CBS News coverage of the M3 in this video here.


Source: CBS News