In the 1950s, computers looked like this:
Embed from Getty Images
These massive devices took up an entire room. At the time, even the thought of a computer small enough to fit on a desktop seemed like a pipe dream. But, of course, we all know what happened ...
Today, many of us carry devices that place more computing power in the palm of our hand than in an entire room of 1950s technology. It's gotten to the point where a computer would need to be really, really tiny to be able to shock us. But that doesn't mean that computer giant IBM isn't going to try.
Smaller than a grain of salt
IBM has been in the computer game since those early days, and at its recent Think 2018 conference, it unveiled yet another groundbreaking device. A computer smaller than a grain of rock salt. And if the picture at the very top of the post looked tiny to you ... well, guess what? That's actually a set of 64 motherboards, each containing a pair of this new computer.
In other words, you were looking at 128 computers, all on the tip of a person's finger. Scroll back up and look again closely, we'll wait...
Hey, welcome back. No biggie, right? Like, literally no biggie.
Want to see the world's smallest computer solo? For that we need a magnifying glass. Here it is...
Okay, why do we need a computer that measures 1mm by 1mm (0.03 in. sq)? On one hand, why not? Sometimes, the challenge of making a microscopic computer is reason enough!
But these 10-cent miracles have a use. They are designed to combat piracy and counterfeit (fake) goods. Think of them as digital fingerprints. Using blockchain technology (which is designed to defend information against computer hackers), these computers could be cheaply placed on things like packages and goods to ensure that they're not fakes.
When you consider that the yearly value of counterfeit goods on the market is well over US$1 trillion, this invention makes sense. Want to be sure that you're really getting what you paid for? These mini marvels will give you the goods!
So want to take a tour of Ant Man's new tablet? Of course you do! Shhhhhhrink!