For those who remember how the first computing devices looked like it may difficult to believe but in its ‘Five-for-Five’ report IBM has unveiled the world’s smallest computer that is smaller than a grain of salt. The computer is so tiny that it is difficult to see it with the naked eye without the help of a microscope.
But in this case the size really doesn’t matter: the device has the computing power of the x86 chip from 1990. Maybe it doesn’t sound very impressive in comparison with what we have today. Nevertheless, don’t forget how tiny this new computer is.
The company says that manufacturing of such a computer will cost less than 10 cents. Having up to 1 million transistors, along with a small amount of static random access memory, a light-emitting diode (LED) and photo-detector this cutting-edge device can be used for monitoring, analyzing, communicating, and even acting on data.
In line with modern tendencies, this IBM computer will work on blockchain, acting as a data source of blockchain applications. That will help the device fulfill the basic AI tasks such as sorting the data it’s given, for example. The computer can be used for tracking the shipment of goods and detecting theft, fraud, and non-compliance.
According to IBM’s head of research Arvind Krishna, “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”.
IBM expects that their tiny computers are cheap and small enough to find a place in everyday electronic devices comparatively soon. Nevertheless, at the moment there is still no information when this device will be released as IBM researchers are still testing its first prototype.
But this small computer is not the only one amazing technological advance that will have a real impact on our lives in the next half decade, according to IBM.
Among other developments are AI-powered robot microscopes that will be used for cleaning the world’s water supplies. These devices will help to monitor the behavior of microscopic plankton in more details than it has been possible earlier and to get more understanding of factors that affect water quality in our rivers and oceans.
IBM researchers have also paid their attention to the issue of data security. Thanks to a post-quantum encryption method called lattice cryptography even quantum-powered hackers will be disarmed.
Another technological advance is explained by researchers’ desire to create AI software which accurately reflects reality without bias. According to IBM experts, only AI systems providing an unbiased, objective model of the world will have a chance to be the most successful.
And the last but not the least innovation that is going to change our lives within 5 years is quantum computing that will be actively used in solving problems once considered unsolvable.