It has the processing power of an early 90s x86 PC, but it is very, very, VERY small.
Imagine a grain of salt. Now, imagine a computer smaller than that. Of course, the processing power is very, very limited, somewhere near the processing power of an early 90s PC, maybe a low-end 386 CPU. Good thing is, these small computers are dirt cheap to make – 0.10$ per piece. They will pack “several hundred thousand transistors,” according to the company. These will allow it to “monitor, analyze, communicate, and even act on data.”
This computer will be a data source for blockchain applications. It’s intended to help track the shipment of goods and detect theft, fraud, and non-compliance. It can also do basic AI tasks, such as sorting the data it’s given. According to IBM, this is only the beginning. “Within the next five years, cryptographic anchors — such as ink dots or tiny computers smaller than a grain of salt — will be embedded in everyday objects and devices,” says IBM head of research Arvind Krishna. If he’s correct, we’ll see way more of these tiny systems in objects and devices in the years to come.