Imagine being able to pick a CD up off the shelves and listen to sample song clips on your mobile phone or portable media device just by scanning the packaging with a little reader.
With a newly-developed chip from HP, that scenario isn't as far-fetched as it seems.
The chip is as small as the head of a match or a small shirt button, and operates like a tiny computer, complete with wireless antennae, a modem, a microprocessor, memory driver, and memory.
At the moment the chip can store about 100 pages of text, about 4MB of information, but a spokesperson for HP Labs said that there's no reason why the capacity can't increase.
It's small size and flatness means that it could be eventually sold as self-adhesive dots, or stuck on DVDs, CDs, or photographs.
Howard Taub, the vice president of HP Labs, suggested that they could be included on DVD packaging to store previews and reviews of DVDs.
The readers that can pick up the signal from the chip are on the same radio frequency as Bluetooth, but offer speeds of up to 10MB per second, which is comparable to Wi-Fi speeds.
Although Memory Spots are similar to RFID, or radio frequency identification, tags, they are less costly, hold more information, have faster speeds, and feature flash memory so that they can be rewritten.
This rewriting capability means that they could be used to hold information like medical files that need to be updated regularly.
It's expected to take at least a couple of years for the chip to reach commercials markets, but HP plans to license the technology much earlier.