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How Could You Use the World's Smallest Computer?

By William Vogeler, Esq. on June 25, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Going tiny is not just a thing in housing.

Computers are getting so small you might mistake one for a piece of lint. IBM said it made a computer as small as a grain of salt, and now university researchers say they've created an even smaller one.

These microscopic devices promise big things in medicine, chemistry, geology, and more. Not counting patent litigation, however, how will lawyers use them?

IBM Think

At IBM's Think 2018 conference in March, the company said it had created the world's smallest computer. It can "monitor, analyze, communicate and even act on data."

And what's equally amazing -- especially for cost-conscious consumers -- IBM said it will make the computers for ten cents each. Of course, not everybody can use technology they could easily lose in their pocket.

If they can see them, however, lawyers might find the tiny bots in their practices sooner rather than later. That's because they can be embedded in objects to ensure authenticity through blockchain technology.

"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," said Arvind Krishna in a post. They should be in commerce in the next five years.

University of Michigan

Because they can, researchers at the University of Michigan have downsized even the world's smallest computer. They told CNet their computer is also smarter than IBM's.

"We are about 10x smaller so we can fit in smaller spaces," said David Blaauw, a professor co-leading the project. "Also, the IBM computer can't sense its environment -- it can send a code identifying itself but it does not sense its physical environment."

The researchers are still studying how to use the technology, though it can be especially useful in biochemistry and medicine. It will actually help if you can't see these computers because they can be inserted into the eye for diagnostics and therapy.

For that reason alone, you literally won't see them in your law practice any time soon.

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