The new computer is reportedly 1x1mm in size and has the same computing power as an x86 processor from the 1990s.
IBM has unveiled a computer so small it can slip through a salt shaker and could help prevent the $600bn a year trade in counterfeit drugs, gadgets, and cash. In a development what might look like coming straight from the future, the IBM engineers have created the world's smallest computer. If the company hadn't shut up shop in 2002, it would likely be facing some existential questions about what makes a genuinely tiny computer today, as IBM revealed the world's smallest, measuring just 1x1nm - or roughly the size of a grain of salt. You just might need a microscope to see it.
The company also said that when put on a tiny motherboard, it will make it easier for companies to track the shipment of, and process, goods. The computer is hard to identify with the naked eye without the help of a microscope.
IBM says that the computers will act as a data source of blockchain applications.
Blockchain already streamlines data, removes the hassle of paperwork and cuts costs within the supply chain. It's meant to help track the shipment of goods and detect theft, fraud, and non-compliance. It can also sort data or complete simple AI tasks, according to Mashable. In 2017, the company also partnered with Samsung to build one of the world's smallest computer chips that could triple mobile phone battery life, a report by Daily Mail says. However, the computer chip is not available commercially.
And with its several hundred thousand transistors, the tiny computer even has enough grunt to power basic artificial intelligence programs, which could see it being used to embed smart into even more devices; smart back scratchers anyone?
"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", said IBM's head of research Arvind Krishna.
It's not clear yet when this thing will be released - IBM researchers are now testing its first prototype.