Digital Pregnancy Or The Original IBM PC?

  • AUTHOR: anam
  • POSTED ON: September 9, 2020

Until today, we thought that pregnancy tests are just about old-fashioned pee strip and are not that of a big deal, it’s a simple stick you peed on, and you get the results…

But some Twitter users found that the digital pregnancy test kits are similar to tiny computers and as powerful as the original IBM PC.
Inspired by the digital era of tests, Twitter users, xtoff and foone, lately dissected pregnancy test devices sold by Walmart and Ceblue to unveil what’s happening inside.
The test that costs < $5, consists of a processor, a button cell battery, RAM and a tiny LCD screen displaying the result. They found that the processor has an 8-bit Holtek microcontroller in addition to 64 bytes of RAM, competent to run at either 8 MHz or 4 MHz considering the battery configuration.

These specs may sound too basic, yet the chip is actually very complicated.
As per Foone’s Twitter thread that people may think of it as limited considering the 6 bytes of RAM yet it operates by using a pipelined architecture and at one instruction/cycle that gives it a better performance for a 4 MHz CPU.

Foone figures out that this gadget is possibly faster at basic I/O and number crunching than CPU of original IBM PC.
IBM’s original PC has an 8-bit chip that runs at 5 MHz and Intel’s 8088 microprocessor. The only difference is that it’s a pregnancy test to confirm the good news (not so good news for some), and after that, it’s destined to go into the dustbin.

You might be wondering that inclusion of an LCD screen and processor to digitize this pregnancy test ensures the accuracy or technilizes how the test performs, but actually it’s not the case. This gadget still uses paper strips to calculate the chemical reaction you produce when peeing on the strip.

In fact, the pregnancy test solely depends on that pH strip and the processor, battery, RAM and LCD display are all there to read a strip and increase the test clarity by displaying “not pregnant” or “pregnant” on the LCD screen.
While these pregnancy tests are an incredible waste of plastic and technologies, we should be grateful that we have come far from confirming pregnancy through frog urine to using a tech device.

Updated September 9, 2020
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