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. As a step in that direction, they have today published a paper in Nature Nanotechnology describing tiny circuits they've created from nano-scale materials that can be resistors, diodes, transistors, or other components depending on what the computer needs them to be at a given time.
Basically, they've created circuitry that can rewire itself in the lab. Harnessed for consumer electronics, this technology could enable a new breed of computers that are always optimized for the task at hand.
The nanoparticle-based electronics work by basically creating new and fluid ways of steering the flow of electrons through a material. Rather than being static, the particles in the material can be rearranged to create varying degrees of resistance, conductivity, or whatever the system needs at a given time, even creating multiple streams of electrons flowing in different directions at the same time through the same material.
This is all made possible by a few tiny, five-nanometer-wide electrically conductive particles coated in a positively charged chemical all immersed in a pool of negatively charged atoms. Signals from a computer can then move the negatively charged atoms around, creating regions of high or low conductivity that dictate where and how electrons will naturally find a path through the material. Once an electron path is no longer needed, it can scrubbed from the system by simply reconfiguring the negatively charged atoms in a different way. In doing this, the computer can basically conjure different electrical components--diodes or resistors or switches or what have you--on demand.
The result of all that could be computers that can quickly adapt to whatever task they are performing at that particular moment, making high-powered computing--or even the common tasks performed by a smartphone-far more efficient.
Awesome step forward! Now if only we can get our computers to do spelling and grammer checks for us before we publish an article for all the world to see... oh wait, we can!
Playing Devil's Advocate since 1978
"The only constant in the universe is change"
-Heraclitus of Ephesus 535 BC - 475 BC
hardware that updates itself along with software. that's what will come from this, eventually.
why learn from your own mistakes, when you could learn from the mistakes of others?
maybe your brain can rewire itself so you are not so critical of everything you read on here or better yet not even post on here any longer, yah, i'm in a bad mood but your constant negativity is getting old, negative cheers, back on topic, this is awesome, gotta make computing easier for the masses, cheers
This technology already exists in the form of field programmable gate arrays, such as those made by Altera. I am using one in a project of mine with an Atmega128 to do the repetitive floating point integral calculations for an inertial navigation system at several billion calculations per seconds, whereas the Atmega is clocked at just 16 mhz.
that's pretty fast
So we build the best computer we can. Then we put into the best artificial intelligent software we can.
Then we assign the computer to rebuild itself in a way it thinks best and allow it to try as many variables as it wants on itself. We also attaché to the first computer equal but 1 generation back mirror of itself. The backup will allow it to rebuild itself backwards one step, should it choose a configuration that ends in being highly corrupted. We may even have to create a 3rd mirror computer overseeing all this development. The overall goal would simply have it build itself the best configuration possible. Who knows, we may actually end up with truly artificial intelligence that becomes self aware.
I see this as a substitute for all the red shirts that usually reroute power for damaged systems past all those pesky, volatile power conduits. Federation insurance will love this.
TRON is prettier than this.
Oh well, eventually we will get there.