You did not think scientists could allow IBM’s world’s smallest computer boast go unchallenged, did you? . Sure, University of Michigan has generated a temperature sensing keyboard measuring 0.04 cubic millimeters, or about a 10th the size of IBM’s former record setter. It is really little that one grain of rice seems colossal in comparison, and it is so very sensitive that its transmission Light-emitting diode can trigger currents in its own circuits. The size limits driven researchers to get creative to reduce the impact of light. They switched from diodes to switched capacitors, and had to combat the relative increase in electric noise which comes from working on a system that uses so little power.

The outcome is a detector that may measure changes in extremely small regions, such as a group of cells within your body. Scientists have guessed that tumors are somewhat hotter than healthful tissue, but it has been difficult to verify this until now. A minus device could both check this claim and, if it proves true, gauge the efficacy of cancer therapies. The group also envisions this helping to diagnose glaucoma from in the eye, monitor biochemical procedures and even study tiny snails.

Why the air quotes around pc, then? . The tiny dimensions is leading the University to question what a pc is. This does have a full fledged processor, however loses all information when it loses power, just like IBM’s device. This may be a deal breaker for those who expect a pc to be more complete. However, this pushes the limits of computing power and also suggests that virtually invisible computing might be relatively commonplace before long.