Friday, July 15, 2011

Tiny computers that fit on your fingernail...

Here is a thought:

Pick up a  microSD card.  Place it on a fingernail. Look at how small it is. How much does it hold? 1GB? 2GB? 8GB? More?  Amazing. That is a lot of storage. These things are examples of how storage keeps shrinking while maintaining incredible capacity. You could fit a whole library on a microSD, right?

But consider this: Inside all microSD cards lie an MCU core . (It may be an 8051.  The 8051 MCU is still a popular flash memory controller that you'll find in a majority of your USB thumb drives, SD and even (as a naked die) microSD cards.)  Each MCU contains some small amount of RAM too.

So,  on your fingernail you have an 8 or 16 bit computer (typically running > 50Mhz)  with high speed I/O, RAM, gigabytes of persistent storage, and firmware that was probably written in C.

Mind blown.

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