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World's Tiniest Computer Packs Promise for Healthcare

World's Tiniest Computer Packs Promise for Healthcare
Grain of rice next to tiny computer. (University of Michigan)

By    |   Monday, 25 June 2018 10:27 AM

The world's tiniest computer is so small that it makes a single rice grain look enormous in comparison but in addition to its impressive size, this new device could pave the way in health monitoring, Engadget reported.

It was not long ago that IBM impressed the world with boasts of developing the world's smallest computer, but researchers at the University of Michigan have challenged this title with their own invention — a temperature-sensing "computer" that measures just 0.3 mm to a side.

The new device converts temperatures into time intervals, defined with electronic pulses. This makes it possible for the computer to report temperatures in miniscule regions, for example in a cluster of cells.

Experts theorize that tumors run hotter than normal tissue and that temperature may help in evaluating cancer treatments.

Gary Luker, a professor of radiology and biomedical engineering at the University of Michigan, hopes to use the new device to answer questions about temperature in tumors.

"We are using this temperature sensor to investigate variations in temperature within a tumor versus normal tissue and if we can use changes in temperature to determine success or failure of therapy," he said in a statement.

Technological developments are allowing experts to revise how they approach cancer treatment.

Scientists have been testing nanotechnology — the use of vehicles smaller than a grain of salt — to target cancer cells.

Nanotechnology uses materials that can pass through blood without negatively affecting the host, such as "nanodiamonds" or "nano-DNA" strands.

The theory is that, by using these materials to construct vehicles, scientists then load them with cancer cell-killing therapies.

However, cancer studies are not the only field in which this newly developed tiny computer can be used.

Researchers at the University of Michigan hope their system can be reimagined for a variety of purposes such as for the diagnosis of glaucoma, oil reservoir monitoring and even the study of tiny snails.

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The world's tiniest computer makes a single rice grain look enormous in comparison, but the new device could pave the way to new developments in healthcare.
world, tiniest, computer, nanotechnology
Monday, 25 June 2018 10:27 AM
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