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IBM builds a computer smaller than a salt grain that can use blockchain to fight product fraud

The tiny computer consists static RAM, Led for uplink communication and photovoltaic cell to power it

March 21, 2018 / 04:51 PM IST
A set of motherboards displaying the world's smallest computer placed on top left.

A set of motherboards displaying the world's smallest computer placed on top left.

IBM has built the world’s smallest computer and it is tinier than a grain of a salt in size. But, don’t get fooled by the size of the device as it consists one million transistors.

What's more, the computer will take just 10 cents to manufacture. It has an edge device architecture. “It is small enough and cheap enough to be put anywhere and everywhere,” IBM Research said.

The tiny computer consists static RAM, light emitting diode for uplink communication and photovoltaic cell to power it. Though it may just match the computing power of a 1990 x86 chip but given its size, it is a huge achievement.

The computer is designed to be a data source for blockchain applications. The intention of the computer is to track the shipment of goods and detect theft, fraud or counterfeiting of products.

The computer is a type of crypto-anchors—devices which can be embedded to a product to track or be used as tamperproof fingerprints. The computers, connected to a blockchain, can help businesses and consumers to track the products.

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In another example, crypto-anchors can be embedded into an edible shade of magnetic ink, which can be used to dye a malaria pill. The code could become active and visible from a drop of water letting a consumer know it is authentic and safe to consume.

“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. 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,” the research lab explained.

The crypto-anchors are in testing phase and could be made available to the client in next 18 months, the research lab said.
Moneycontrol News
first published: Mar 21, 2018 04:51 pm

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