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A disposable computer is a small data processing unit having input/output, memory and communication capabilities. Disposable computers are only meant to be used for a limited number of times and then discarded.
A disposable computer is, however, not the same as a disposable PC. A disposable computer is a sealed box computer which cannot be opened and is usually intended for a specific purpose. A disposable PC is normally a full-scale personal computer which is meant to be discarded rather than fixed when severe problems arise with it.
The prices of embedded systems have started to drop immensely and hardware has been getting cheaper. A direct outcome of this is that disposable computers can now be used for a vast range of applications.
A Swedish company called Cypak AB makes disposable computers and sells them to original equipment manufacturers for as low as $1 per unit. This device is comprised of a processor on a paperboard. It is usually embedded in packing materials and sealed completely. The disposable device has 32 kilobytes of memory and permits the processing of encrypted data. It uses RFID for communication.
Disposable computers are used in specific areas like tracking delivery data in courier companies, tracking shipping data and monitoring patient dosage data from pharmaceutical packaging.