Friday, September 19, 2008

'Space Cube' could be world's smallest PC

The computer always was a 'space-age' device: now it's heading back, yet as a teeny-weeny cube:

Shimafuji Corporation has developed the Space Cube, a 2x2 inches PC designed for use in space to control various electronics and manage an "interstellar computer network."

First, the Space Cube´s metal chassis is "utterly rock solid," enabling it to withstand cosmic encounters. As might be expected, it has very low power requirements, running on just 5 watts.

Inside the tiny computer, there´s a CPU with a top speed of 300 MHz, and 16 MB of on-board flash memory - low by today´s standards, but impressive for its size. The PC runs on a Linux OS from a 1GB CompactFlash card that fits into a slot in its side. The Space Cube´s hard drive is a 64MB SDRAM card, and it also comes equipped with a LAN port, USB port, Ethernet port, and a VGA monitor connector. A pair of jacks even accommodates speakers and headphones.

In addition to the normal computer features, the Space Cube also has some more unique characteristics. It has a SpaceWire port, which is an extremely thin socket that serves as an interface used by NASA, ESA, and JAXA, the space agencies of the U.S., Europe, and Japan, respectively. When the Space Cube goes into space, it can link up to each agency´s systems, where the SpaceWire acts as a common interface for linking together different kinds of devices.

Read more at - ''Space Cube' could be world's smallest PC'


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