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It has been revealed that IBM is building the world's smallest computer, which is a 1mm x 1mm piece of tech that is finer than a posh piece of salt. Details about this are as thin as the CPU itself right now but, according to the technology company's research, it costs less than ten cents to make and will be able to monitor, analyse, communicate and even act on data.

This latest computer invention by IBM forms part of the company's '5 in 5'. This is a series of annual technology predictions borne of the company's research. The chip packs several thousand transistors into a footprint barely visible to the human eye and exists as one that the company's developments in 'crypto anchors' – a tamper-proof digital fingerprint that can be embedded into products, or parts of products to ensure counterfeit protection.

The trick is to use these crypto-anchors to make authentic goods identifiable and unclonable. The theory behind this is to use these tiny computers to act as tags, linked to a global network of computers managing a database that records digital transactions, otherwise known as blockchain technology. The crypto anchors extend the blockchain value into the physical realm, adding a digital signature to products that can be accessed by, for example, adding a drop of water serum that reveals a logo on product packaging or by using smart technology and a macro lens.

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