CubeWorks: Solving problems with the world’s smallest and lowest-power computers

Cubeworks receives its first external funding to manufacture millimeter-scale computing devices
cubeworks header Enlarge

CubeWorks has been flying under the radar since late in 2013, when this startup company specializing in the world’s smallest and lowest-power sensing technology was incorporated.

With its first outside funding from Intel (see the press release), the CEO of CubeWorks is now looking two years into the future, when he hopes to be manufacturing millimeter-scale computing devices for their first customers.

“We are looking for customers who want to solve problems with our technology,” said Dr. ZhiYoong Foo, the young CEO.

What those problems may be is limited only by the imagination. Cubeworks’ Cubisens™ platform enables autonomous wireless sensing with millimeter-scale devices. These tiny computing systems are able to sense information about their environment (such as temperature, pressure, or the visual surroundings), and then store and wirelessly transmit the data.

To name some examples, the technology platform can be adapted for use in Medicine (long-term internal monitoring, detecting glucose levels, improving safety in the home for seniors); the Environment (detecting air and water quality, monitoring endangered species, taking soil moisture readings); Infrastructure (monitoring the safety of bridges and buildings); Energy Management (smart home systems, monitoring wind farms); Home Automation; and Security (motion detection, surveillance, detection of dangerous chemicals).

“We already have potential long-term customers,” said Dr. Foo.

Foo is also interested in attracting customers with unique and/or niche applications. The Cubisens™ technology is designed to be easily adapted to custom applications thanks to the Legos-like approach to its design. Built of composable layers with unique capabilities, one or more of the layers can be switched out to provide the specific type of sensing required for the job.

In addition to individual applications, Foo is excited to participate in the future of the Internet of Things, or what some like to call the impending Internet of Everything. “I love how our industry is connecting everything to improve our lives,” he said. “Can you imagine what it would be like to have truly personalized medication, based on information that sensors were providing throughout an entire day rather than from a single snapshot at a doctor’s office? It would be literally life-changing.”

CubeWorks was founded by the team at University of Michigan that developed the Michigan Micro Mote(M3), the world’s smallest computer, in 2014: Prof. David Blaauw, Prof. Prabal Dutta, U-M alumnus Dr. Yoonmyung Lee, Prof. Dennis Sylvester, and Prof. David Wentzloff.

Other key members of the company are Dr. Gyouho Kim (chief technical officer) and Yejoong Kim (VP of Research and Development). Current graduate student Pat Pannuto completes the all-Michigan team as principal systems architect.

Contact CubeWorks at