Fine Print

Fine Print

This is undoubtedly the most surprising doodle that we have ever discovered adorning the surface of an integrated circuit. Most people are used to seeing warranty disclaimers on everything from refrigerators to software, but this is the first one we have encountered on a silicon chip. Our hieroglyphics experts have not yet deciphered the entire body of text, but the phrases "No purchase necessary", "Keep away from fire", and "not for resale" are clearly visible in the magnified portion shown as an inset within the photomicrograph. The pad containing this warranty is 450 microns tall by 1850 microns wide and sports 25 lines of text, with each character being between six and eight microns high. This disclaimer--probably the smallest ever written--was found on a Hewlett-Packard "Aspen" (Acquisition Signal Processing ENgine) chip used in digital oscilloscopes in the late 1980s and early 1990s.


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