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Hardware Technology

Researcher Develops Chemical Circuit Using Ion Transistors 27

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the when-do-i-get-cyborg-arms dept.
cylonlover writes news of ion based logic gates. From the article: "While the silicon chips found in the electronic devices that we rely on every day are built around the flow of electrons through circuits, with the development of an 'integrated chemical chip,' a doctoral student in Organic Electronics at Sweden's Linköping University has created the basis for an entirely new circuit technology based on the transmission of ions and molecules. Like silicon-based chips, the integrated chemical chip contains logic gates, such as NAND gates, that form the basis of digital electronics by allowing for the construction of all logical functions."
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Researcher Develops Chemical Circuit Using Ion Transistors

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  • by jeffb (2.718) (1189693) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @09:18AM (#40154853)

    This is the sort of thing we need to see real progress in neural integration.

    • by Thanshin (1188877) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @09:43AM (#40155055)

      This is the sort of thing we need to see real progress in self replicating bio-artificial beings.

      Just a few steps remain:
      - Mutate some bacteria to contain one of those integrated chemical chips as a byproduct of their nutrition.
      - Mutate that bacteria again to create different (on mytosis) gates depending on fed nutrients, temperature or somesuch.
      - Find the correct nutrient/temperature/... map (base) over which, when the bacteria are grown, they create a particular circuit.
      - Find which particular circuit creates a map that self replicates.
      - Feel proud as our species is replaced by the ultra-intelligent logical-gate-bacteria-overlords.

      • No way - once we realize the bacterial version are self aware, we can start an eukaryote version that the single celled bacterial networks can have an arms race against!

        [???]

        Sell admission.

        Profit!

    • by mcgrew (92797) * on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @10:07AM (#40155327) Homepage Journal

      We're going to need a LOT more knowledge about how neurons, axions, and other brain components work first. Just because the circuit is based on ions doesn't mean it's anything at all like an animal's brain works. Note that TFS says "Like silicon-based chips, the integrated chemical chip contains logic gates, such as NAND gates, that form the basis of digital electronics by allowing for the construction of all logical functions."

      Your brain contains no digital circutry. The brain is analog, not binary.

      However, if you're referring to cybernetic implants to help those suffering from brain damage, then perhaps. I don't know enough about the brain or these ionic logic gates to be able to tell. I'm pretty sure there's going to need a hell of a lot more research on the brain to find out.

      I've always wondered why they haven't studied insect brains. Flies do way more complex things than any robot so far invented, and would surely be easier to understand than the workings of a mammal brain.

      • by jeffb (2.718) (1189693) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @10:34AM (#40155695)

        I've always wondered why they haven't studied insect brains. Flies do way more complex things than any robot so far invented, and would surely be easier to understand than the workings of a mammal brain.

        Um, they kinda do. Really, really hard, in fact. [arizona.edu]

      • by dmbasso (1052166)

        I don't know enough about the brain

        And it shows. You should perhaps refrain from making claims about something you don't know about.

        For instance, you said the brain is analog. Well, a lot of its functionality is as analog as your computer. Take vision, for instance: light -> photoreceptor -> bipolar cell [ok, graded potentials, analog so far] -> ganglion cells [spectral intensity/motion cue encoded in spike frequency: you can argue the period is analog, ok] -> LGN -> visual cortex [here (and over all neocortex really) the spat

  • When I think of the movie Tron, or any similar story where a subject is disassembled and reassembled, via computer, I think of stuff like this.
  • Does this mean I could program the chip to deliver coffee on demand? Or Stoli?

    Man, think of the possibilities...
  • by Grizzley9 (1407005) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @09:53AM (#40155151)
    Sorry, unless it's a high school student coming up with this for a science fair, Slashdot isn't interested.
  • by ArhcAngel (247594) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @10:07AM (#40155337)
    Is the guys name Soong?
  • Wrong path? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Corson (746347) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @10:10AM (#40155381)
    It's funny that scientists try to create ion transistors and DNA-based computers. Nature has found other ways to process information, though. Trying to "replicate" electronic circuitry using biologic systems has all the drawbacks of both approaches and little if any of the benefits. Biologic systems are based on chemical diffusion in water solutions, therefore they are slower than electronic systems. However, they are massively parallel, self-organizing, self-repairing, swarm-like, use built-in negative and positive selection, and have a propensity for learning at all structural levels. More importantly, they mix "hardware" and "software" in a way that still escapes human understanding. But then again, why not...
    • by Anonymous Coward

      RTFA, it talks about how this technology might be useful in controlling human physiology. The point is not to create entire CPUs with this stuff, although (and this is me guessing) the military potential of chemical computers is obvious for EMP protection, redundancy, and power efficiency.

      It reminds me of the backup biochemical brains Culture drones have in that way.

      As for biological systems: neither these circuits nor hypothetical DNA computers are biological systems, they are simply biochemical and do not

    • nature created us too. as joe rogan pointed out, nothing humans do is unnatural. if the universe is trying to process infinite information, it behooves it to grow some sentient organic interface it can use to speed things up.
    • by Korin43 (881732)

      However, they are massively parallel, self-organizing, self-repairing, swarm-like, use built-in negative and positive selection, and have a propensity for learning at all structural levels. More importantly, they mix "hardware" and "software" in a way that still escapes human understanding.

      And where do you find the geniuses to program these things?

    • It's funny that scientists try to create ion transistors and DNA-based computers. Nature has found other ways to process information, though. Trying to "replicate" electronic circuitry using biologic systems has all the drawbacks of both approaches and little if any of the benefits.

      Science has come up with lots of interesting ideas that have been of no practical value in and of themselves that have turned out to be prerequisites for later innovations. For the most useless of the useless, take Prince Rupert's Drops [wikipedia.org] -- beads of glass that are of no use beyond a simple party trick. And yet there's the possibility of making that if we ever start manufacturing things in space, we might be able to produce perfectly spherical Rupert Drops, practically indestructable ball-bearings.

  • Sure it is nice and "cyborg" just got a new dimension, but will transmitting ions and molecules will ever be as fast as transmitting electrons? I doubt that...

The tree of research must from time to time be refreshed with the blood of bean counters. -- Alan Kay

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