Northwestern University researchers--the same ones that brought us self-erasing documents a couple of years ago--are envisioning a day when computers and other gadgets can rewire themselves automatically to better suit the user’s needs at a given moment.
Those mazes you used to complete with crayons when you were a kid? They’re not just child’s play. They’re actually analogous to a lot of mathematical models and problems that require time and, in most cases, a good deal of trial and error (read: dead ends) to solve. But using memristors--resistors with “memory”--a couple of researchers have created a memristor processor that solves mazes in a massively parallel way that has implications far beyond the puzzles page in an in-flight magazine.
A computer chip using nanotube circuitry can run much faster than a regular silicon chip, for a fraction of the cost, but no one has been able to effectively string together two nanotube transistors, let alone the thousands needed for a chip. Until now: researchers at Stanford University have built the first nanotube circuits, by stamping multiple layers of nanotubes on top of one another.
If you're like me, the lack of computing power in your T-shirt causes constant problems. Well, thanks to the guys over at Xerox, you'll never have to worry about a jacket that can't run Windows 7 ever again. The company has just announced a new process for creating an ink that doubles as a circuit, paving the way for ubiquitous computing through printable electronics.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.