Skip to main content

IBM has built the world's smallest computer

(Image credit: Image Credit: Majestic B / Shutterstock)

IBM has announced it is building what could be the world’s tiniest computer. 

During the IBM Think 2018 conference, taking place this week, the company showcased a computer that has processing power similar to computers in the nineties - but is many times smaller.

It is made to track shipping goods, detect theft, fraud and to complete simple tasks, such as sorting incoming data.

On this tiny piece of technology, that quite literally looks like a grain of salt, are a few hundred transistors that allow the machine to track, analyse, communicate and react to data. IBM says that the production of these devices cost roughly 10 cents apiece.

For IBM, this is just the beginning. The company believes this device, and other similar ones, will become a part of future devices and systems.

A prototype is currently being tested, so it is not yet known when this device will make it to mass production and use. However, IBM seems to believe that these things will be mainstream within five years.

“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 said in a blog post (opens in new tab).

“They’ll be used in tandem with blockchain’s distributed ledger technology to ensure an object’s authenticity from its point of origin to when it reaches the hands of the customer. These technologies pave the way for new solutions that tackle food safety, authenticity of manufactured components, genetically modified products, identification of counterfeit objects and provenance of luxury goods.”

Image Credit: Majestic B / Shutterstock

Sead Fadilpašić is a freelance tech writer and journalist with more than 17 years experience writing technology-focussed news, blogs, whitepapers, reviews, and ebooks. And his work has featured in online media outlets from all over the world, including Al Jazeera Balkans (where he was a Multimedia Journalist), Crypto News, TechRadar Pro, and IT Pro Portal, where he has written news and features for over five years. Sead's experience also includes writing for inbound marketing, where he creates technology-based content for clients from London to Singapore. Sead is a HubSpot-certified content creator.