Meet Michigan Micro Mote: A computer smaller than a grain of rice

Dubbed Michigan Micro Mote (M^3), the tiny fully autonomous computer measures as small as two millimeters across.


Researchers at the University of Michigan have developed a computer, which is said to be smaller than a grain of rice. Dubbed Michigan Micro Mote (M^3), the tiny fully autonomous computer measures as small as two millimeters across.

The tiny M^3 is capable of taking pictures, reading temperatures and recording pressure readings. Researchers plan to implement it in several applications ranging from medical to industrial purposes. The tiny size also allows users to inject it into a body, wherein it will be capable of performing ECGs and take pressure and temperature readings. The oil industry is also said to be interested in the Mote. It can be inserted into oil wells to help detect oil pockets.

"The Michigan faculty sees the Micro Mote as a way to never lose anything again. The vision is that people would buy a couple of M^3s and stick the computers to their keys, wallet, and anything else they don't want to lose. And using a central system, people would be able to locate their belongings within the confines of their home," points out a report by Cnet.

The Michigan Micro Mote contains solar cells, which power the battery with ambient light. It doesn't completely rely on natural sunlight and it also uses light in indoor rooms.

The sensors serve as input and the radios as the output. Obviously, there is no space for keyboard, mouse or display. "By strobing light at a high frequency, the operator is able to send information to the computer. Once the Micro Mote processes the data, it is able to send the information to a central computer via conventional radio frequencies," the report adds.

The Michigan Micro Mote M^3 is reportedly ready for production. In fact, the faculty at Michigan is also planning to build even smaller computers dubbed 'smart dust'.