This teeny 9mm Solar Sensor is probably the smallest self-powered computer in the world, and it’s totally amazing. The thing contains a full ARM processor, solar cells and a tiny battery, and consumes less power in sleep mode than people generate when they blink their eyes.
The researchers are, as you’d expect, initially targeting this marvel at the medical market, but the capacity to keep itself powered up for years on nothing more than body heat, movement or solar exposure, suggests that this thing could end up in a zillion different applications, products and service scenarios. Astonishing. [Via]
“Our system can run nearly perpetually if periodically exposed to reasonable lighting conditions, even indoors,” says David Blaauw, an electrical and computer engineering professor. “Its only limiting factor is battery wear-out, but the battery would last many years” The sensor spends most of its time in sleep mode, waking briefly every few minutes to take measurements. Its total average power consumption is less than 1 nanowatt. A nanowatt is one-billionth of a watt.