Disposable Computer

What Does Disposable Computer Mean?

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.

Techopedia Explains Disposable Computer

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.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.