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Researchers Create Computer That Fits On a Pen Tip 110

Posted by samzenpus
from the because-they-can dept.
CWmike writes "Researchers at the University of Michigan announced Wednesday that they have created the first prototype for a millimeter-scale computing system that can hold up to a week's worth of data when implanted in something as small as a human eye. The computer, called the Phoenix chip, is just over one cubic millimeter in size and was designed to monitor eye pressure in glaucoma patients. 'This is the first true millimeter-scale complete computing system,' said Dennis Sylvester, a professor at the school and one of the researchers on the project. Within the computer is an ultra low-power microprocessor, a pressure sensor, memory, a thin-film battery, a solar cell and a wireless radio with an antenna that can transmit data to an external reader device held near the eye."
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Researchers Create Computer That Fits On a Pen Tip

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  • by bws111 (1216812) on Wednesday February 23, 2011 @11:41PM (#35296598)

    The thing is designed to measure eye pressure in glaucoma patients. It samples once every 15 minutes. So it would seem it can hold 672 eye pressure samples.

  • Re:Huh (Score:5, Informative)

    by FSWKU (551325) on Thursday February 24, 2011 @12:43AM (#35296808)
    Well, if it's measuring intra-ocular pressure, it's likely not recording much data. Figure a date and time stamp and lets say 5 digits for the IOP measurement itself (15.517, for example). Store that in a CSV file and you're going to end up with something around 22 bytes. If you take a measurement every 15 minutes, you're looking at 96 per day, or 672 per week. That leaves you 14,784 bytes of data, or roughly 14.4 kilobytes.

    My phone can store 32 gigabytes in the space roughly equivalent to a fingernail. That means the storage density on something like this is really quite low in comparison to what we have today (yes, the whole thing is in that tiny package, but I still doubt the storage area is smaller than 0.04% the area of an SD-micro card). No, the really interesting bit is the fact that they can make something that small and still keep it from causing a really nasty infection.

... though his invention worked superbly -- his theory was a crock of sewage from beginning to end. -- Vernor Vinge, "The Peace War"