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Biodegradable computer chips made from wood

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posted on May, 26 2015 @ 06:18 PM
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In an effort to alleviate the environmental burden of electronic devices, a team of University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers has collaborated with researchers in the Madison-based U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) to develop a surprising solution: a semiconductor chip made almost entirely of wood.

The research team, led by UW-Madison electrical and computer engineering professor Zhenqiang "Jack" Ma, described the new device in a paper published today (May 26, 2015) by the journal Nature Communications.

The paper demonstrates the feasibility of replacing the substrate, or support layer, of a computer chip, with cellulose nanofibril (CNF), a flexible, biodegradable material made from wood.


Source

Imagine you computer being biodegradable?

Any thoughts?




posted on May, 26 2015 @ 06:28 PM
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a reply to: Kashai

A biodegradable computer seems like an entirely pointless endeavour, aside from in the medical field of course, where a temporary computer system or relay for the same, which would break down and get washed out of the body via natural processes after its task were complete, would be very handy. However, this stuff does not seem to fit that bill too well.

For a start, it seems as if the chips would break down at a set rate, whereas the only reasonable format for a system for temporary internal implantation, would be fully programmable matter, which would only begin to break down after receiving instructions from the controller, that it is now safe to cease operation of the program which it was previously running, and disassociate, to be flushed from the body.

Also, a biodegradable computer makes no sense because in EVERY place that one would want a computer, one would want a computer to be present for as long as the article was capable of running. Why make something which you KNOW will break faster? The only people who will benefit from a biodegradable computer, in my estimation, will be those involved in espionage. Want a temporary bug that will wash off in the rain after the secret meet, details of which are now in your mobile phone memory? This is the item for you! Want an initiator for a detonation that cannot be found, and so cannot be traced? This would seem ideal.

I cannot think of a single thing that a biodegradable computer could be used for, that a hard, permanent construction would not be at least one thousand times better suited to.



posted on May, 26 2015 @ 06:39 PM
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organic technology (biotechnology) is just a short ways from human augmentation. are we sure we are ready for that can of worms?
edit on 26-5-2015 by TzarChasm because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 26 2015 @ 06:54 PM
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a reply to: TrueBrit

A point would be that this could be compatible, eventually placing a computer into an organism.


edit on 26-5-2015 by Kashai because: Content edit



posted on May, 26 2015 @ 07:03 PM
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a reply to: Kashai

A friend of mine currently has a computerised implant in his lower back and abdomen. The implant interferes with pain signals from damaged nerves, is controlled wirelessly, and charges via an induction pad like device, placed over the abdomen for the duration of the charging procedure.

None of that equipment is designed to degrade over time. In fact, the components have been designed with permanence in mind!



posted on May, 26 2015 @ 07:17 PM
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a reply to: TrueBrit

In the sense of medical procedures this could then be very effective.

The matter of permanence is less an issue with respect to cost and I mean a computer made of paper has many advantages.

Sure it could be ready for disposal in a month but at that point one just grabs another sheet.

Making chips out of wood implies that in time we could make them out of tissue where as long as the body is alive will not degrade.



posted on May, 26 2015 @ 08:25 PM
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originally posted by: Kashai
Sure it could be ready for disposal in a month but at that point one just grabs another sheet.

First, you can't make the whole chip out of cellulose, just the substrate.
Second, people have dug up old landfills and seen that supposedly biodegradable things like old newspapers didn't degrade much at all in the landfill after decades, you could still read some of them. So instead of a computer that only goes in the landfill once or twice a decade, you're talking about filling the landfill up with paper monthly which is only claimed to be biodegradable, but for certain reasons we aren't seeing such degradation in real landfills.

In a Landfill: How Long Does Trash Really Last?

The three necessary components for decomposition—sunlight, moisture, oxygen—are hard to come by in a landfill; items are more likely to mummify than to break down....

Paper, including newspaper, seems like one of those items that although recyclable, would also break down quite nicely when mixed in a landfill. Theoretically it can, but because microbial decomposition is so stifled in landfills, paper takes much longer to decompose there than under normal conditions. Or so discovered William Rathje, a professor of archeology at the University of Arizona, who started the Garbage Project—digging through landfills to find clues about consumer behavior. While there, his team found legible newspapers more than 15 years old, indicating decomposition in landfills doesn’t occur as it would in a compost heap. They also discovered that newspapers made up the largest single item by weight and volume in the landfills studied.




edit on 26-5-2015 by Arbitrageur because: clarification



posted on May, 26 2015 @ 08:52 PM
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a reply to: Arbitrageur

Hello Friend


I agree that such a technology could last a really long time.



posted on May, 27 2015 @ 02:13 AM
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originally posted by: TrueBrit
a reply to: Kashai

A biodegradable computer seems like an entirely pointless endeavour, aside from in the medical field of course, where a temporary computer system or relay for the same, which would break down and get washed out of the body via natural processes after its task were complete, would be very handy. However, this stuff does not seem to fit that bill too well.

For a start, it seems as if the chips would break down at a set rate, whereas the only reasonable format for a system for temporary internal implantation, would be fully programmable matter, which would only begin to break down after receiving instructions from the controller, that it is now safe to cease operation of the program which it was previously running, and disassociate, to be flushed from the body.

Also, a biodegradable computer makes no sense because in EVERY place that one would want a computer, one would want a computer to be present for as long as the article was capable of running. Why make something which you KNOW will break faster? The only people who will benefit from a biodegradable computer, in my estimation, will be those involved in espionage. Want a temporary bug that will wash off in the rain after the secret meet, details of which are now in your mobile phone memory? This is the item for you! Want an initiator for a detonation that cannot be found, and so cannot be traced? This would seem ideal.

I cannot think of a single thing that a biodegradable computer could be used for, that a hard, permanent construction would not be at least one thousand times better suited to.



True and true...

Also, if we're talking of microchips, they are just a tiny % in volume and weight of the entire electronics package of a computer....It will not make a dent in environment friendliness.

There is far far greater toxicity in the board and the process of putting these things together in manufacturing of electronics boards. And people do get sick from it and die, especially people who put together your gadgets in China.



posted on May, 27 2015 @ 03:09 AM
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originally posted by: Kashai
Any thoughts?


I think you're going to have a hellacious cooling problem.



posted on May, 27 2015 @ 03:10 AM
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originally posted by: TzarChasm
organic technology (biotechnology) is just a short ways from human augmentation. are we sure we are ready for that can of worms?


This isn't that at all, so no problems.



posted on May, 27 2015 @ 03:11 AM
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originally posted by: Kashai

Making chips out of wood implies that in time we could make them out of tissue where as long as the body is alive will not degrade.


Not at all. If you read the article for content, you'll see why.



posted on May, 27 2015 @ 05:03 AM
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a reply to: TrueBrit

I disagree in purely environmental terms. Making a computer costs the planet a hell of a lot in terms of Rare Earths minerals, etc. Anything that reduces the reliance on Rare Earth minerals can therefore only be a good thing - new trees can be planted and grown. Not so easy with Rare Earth's, unless you happen to have a couple of billion spare years



posted on May, 27 2015 @ 05:03 AM
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a reply to: TrueBrit

I disagree in purely environmental terms. Making a computer costs the planet a hell of a lot in terms of Rare Earths minerals, etc. Anything that reduces the reliance on Rare Earth minerals can therefore only be a good thing - new trees can be planted and grown. Not so easy with Rare Earth's, unless you happen to have a couple of billion spare years



posted on May, 27 2015 @ 06:31 AM
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originally posted by: Flavian
a reply to: TrueBrit

I disagree in purely environmental terms. Making a computer costs the planet a hell of a lot in terms of Rare Earths minerals, etc. Anything that reduces the reliance on Rare Earth minerals can therefore only be a good thing - new trees can be planted and grown. Not so easy with Rare Earth's, unless you happen to have a couple of billion spare years



The computer chip used in say, a Pentium I7 CPU is not bigger than a micro-simcard.

It only looks big due to the mounting platform and the heat-sink fan that does nothing about computational processes.

Most of that material is a crystal form of silicon and silicon is one of the most abundant element in the Earth's crust.

The other thing in it is a doping element to introduce impurities in a manner to achieve the desired electrical property.

Concentration of doping element does not go higher than 1 part per thousand....

...And silicon is a non-toxic element which is why it is used in implants and it's also abundant in glassware which is used in food!....


...So the approach to use wood-like substrate to help save the environment is pretty much a joke....



If you want to make the electronics industry more environment friendly, change the board, the plastic material housing the chips instead. They are many orders of magnitude more toxic than the microchips and they account for more than 99% of the weight of an electronics package (excluding the batteries, display, other peripherals, and the casing of the gadget itself



posted on May, 27 2015 @ 06:43 AM
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a reply to: TrueBrit

there are many things that are made of wood that have lasted in pristine shape.antique furniture comes to mind as one, some hundreds of years old, and if remembering one of your threads, old tools with wooden handles.
it's when it is thrown away or discarded that it starts to degrade. even then some wood last for years.

electronics are huge burden to dispose of.



posted on May, 27 2015 @ 07:25 AM
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originally posted by: Flavian
a reply to: TrueBrit

I disagree in purely environmental terms. Making a computer costs the planet a hell of a lot in terms of Rare Earths minerals, etc. Anything that reduces the reliance on Rare Earth minerals can therefore only be a good thing - new trees can be planted and grown. Not so easy with Rare Earth's, unless you happen to have a couple of billion spare years



You don't use a lot of rare earth in making semiconductors. And this doesn't have any affect on that, anyway.



posted on May, 27 2015 @ 02:16 PM
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originally posted by: hounddoghowlie
electronics are huge burden to dispose of.


You're talking about the toxic electronics board and the toxic plastics that houses the micro chips which had nothing to do with the computation itself but is a huge bulk of the package.

A conventional silicon chip is non-toxic and whether it decomposes or not, it's pointless.

The only one that benefits to this invention are greedy companies who wants to shorten the lives of your gadgets so that you buy new ones all the time.

Because honestly, the latest mobile technologies with no moving parts are moving towards high durability with their unbreakable glass panels, shock proof polycarb casing, sometimes water and dust resistant. Given it will not be exposed to EMP, it will probably work for hundreds, even thousands of years.
edit on 27-5-2015 by johndeere2020 because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 27 2015 @ 02:28 PM
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originally posted by: Kashai


In an effort to alleviate the environmental burden of electronic devices, a team of University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers has collaborated with researchers in the Madison-based U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) to develop a surprising solution: a semiconductor chip made almost entirely of wood.

The research team, led by UW-Madison electrical and computer engineering professor Zhenqiang "Jack" Ma, described the new device in a paper published today (May 26, 2015) by the journal Nature Communications.

The paper demonstrates the feasibility of replacing the substrate, or support layer, of a computer chip, with cellulose nanofibril (CNF), a flexible, biodegradable material made from wood.


Source

Imagine you computer being biodegradable?

Any thoughts?




To much money in compliance and recycling of IT hardware to ever let this happen. Companies would never let that happen, especially financing companies.



posted on May, 27 2015 @ 08:19 PM
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a reply to: Vasa Croe

How can it cost to much money to recycle paper?



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