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Sunday, June 20, 2021

Worlds Smallest Computer at Work

An unusual example of embedding computing using sensors.

Snails Carrying World's Smallest Computer Help Solve Mass Extinction Survivor Mystery

University of Michigan News Service

By Katherine McAlpine; Catharine June  University of Michigan,  June 15, 2021

University of Michigan (U-M) biologists and engineers used the world's smallest computer to learn how the South Pacific Society Islands tree snail Partula hyalina survived a mass extinction. Former U-M researcher Inhee Lee adapted the Michigan Micro Mote (M3) sensor to test the theory that P. hyalina survived the deliberate introduction of the predatory rosy wolf snail to its environment as attributable to its light-reflecting white shell. The researchers deployed 50 M3s in Tahiti, gluing some to rosy wolf snails while others were stuck on leaves harboring the P. hyalina, which rests in daytime. Lee wirelessly downloaded data from each M3 at the end of the day. Based on that data, the researchers suspect P. hyalina avoids predation because the rosy wolf snail will not venture far into its sunlight-heavy habitat.

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