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The Crazy-Tiny Next Generation of Computers 104

An anonymous reader writes University of Michigan professors are about to release the design files for a one-cubic-millimeter computer, or mote. They have finally reached a goal set in 1997, when UC Berkeley professor Kristopher Pister coined the term "smart dust" and envisioned computers blanketing the Earth. Such motes are likely to play a key role in the much-ballyhooed Internet of Things. From the article: "When Prabal Dutta accidentally drops a computer, nothing breaks. There’s no crash. The only sound you might hear is a prolonged groan. That’s because these computers are just one cubic millimeter in size, and once they hit the floor, they’re gone. 'We just lose them,' Dutta says. 'It’s worse than jewelry.' To drive the point home, Dutta, an assistant professor of electrical engineering at the University of Michigan, emails me a photo of 50 of these computers. They barely fill a thimble halfway to its brim."

How Google, Tesla, and Uber Could Team Up For the Driverless Taxis of the Future 126

cartechboy writes "Follow the thinking for a second. Google drops $258 million into the car-taxi app Uber. Google says it will make self-driving cars available within four years, based on its ground-breaking research into self-driving cars. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has spoken with Google about driverless technology for future Tesla vehicles. So, are we watching the assembly of a massive driverless taxi service of the future? Battery-electric vehicles make excellent autonomous taxis (very few moving parts, low per-mile energy cost, and zero noise or emissions) Could Google use some of its cash hoard to buy Tesla outright (making Elon Musk its third largest shareholder in the process), then grab Uber and turn the whole thing into an app? Musk's goal has always been to transform the very nature of transportation. This might just do that."

Understanding is always the understanding of a smaller problem in relation to a bigger problem. -- P.D. Ouspensky