Rice-Grain Size Michigan Micro Mote is World’s Smallest Computer

Rice-Grain Size Michigan Micro Mote is World's Smallest Computer

Photo Credit: Martin Vloet

The Michigan Micro Mote (M3) is the world’s smallest computer. It is about the size of a rice grain.

The Michigan Micro Mote (M3) i is a fully autonomous computer that has the ability to work as a smart sensing system. The M3 is an achievement of Michigan faculty members David Blaauw, Dennis Sylvester, David Wentzloff, Prabal Dutta and several key graduate students over the years, some of whom have already founded companies to exploit key aspects of the technology.

These devices are helping usher in the era of the Internet of Things (IoT), where people are connected to things and other people through the cloud. 

The Michigan Micro Mote constitutes the first complete, operational computer system measuring as small as two millimeters across. The scientist are feeding the M3 via light with information. The Michigan Micro Mote contains solar cells that power the battery with ambient light.

In a CBS report David Blaauw, professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the University of Michigan said: “What people don’t realize is a very large part of the volume of a computer for instance in a cellphone is actually consumed by the battery. So by bringing down the power, we can bring down the battery size, and we can bring down the whole system down in size.” 

The rice-grain sized computer is apparently ready for production and the researchers have set their eyes already on even smaller computers. “Going forward there’s no reason you can’t keep pushing that. Can’t get to a hundred microns on a side. And then you can get chips inside cells,” said Dennis Sylvester, also a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the University of Michigan. “It’s an easy thing to see as, you know, making science fiction a reality.”


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