Some people think the future of computers lies in smaller and smaller pieces of silicone. Others think perhaps quantum computing in the next course of
action. Still more think, "Aw, to hell with computers! Why, in my day - " Yeah, chill out Grandpa. The fact, is, we could be using your failing
kidneys to create a whole new generation of computing technology.
What's that? Yes, you heard me right. Scientists all over the world have been collaborating in a wide field of research that's centered around turning
simple little cells into processing centers for data.
The developments went from simple...
Last year, for example, a computer scientist at the University of the West of England named Andy Adamatzky and a team of Japanese researchers
built logic gates that ran on soldier crabs. First they constructed mazes that replicated the shape of the wires in a computer’s logic gates.
Then they chased two swarms of crabs (inputs) from one end of the gate to the other. When the swarms collided, they combined to form a new swarm
(output), which often headed in the direction of the sum of their vectors, demonstrating that a living, somewhat random system can produce useful
...to a little more complex...
In one experiment, they took a map of Canada, dropped oat flakes (slime-mold food) on the nation’s major cities, and placed the mold on
Toronto. It oozed forth to form the most efficient paths to the cities, creating networks of “roads” that almost perfectly mimicked the actual
Canadian highway system.
Now that's some smart mold. Or are we just as dumb as mold?
By the way, how good are you at math? Turns out its in your genes - literally!
Last April, biocomputers got even more impressive. Swiss bioengineers announced that they had programmed human cells to do binary addition or
subtraction, which is how a computer does arithmetic. They genetically engineered the cells with an elaborate circuit of genes that turn one another
on or off. The cells can process two inputs added to their dish (the molecules erythromycin and phloretin) and display an answer by producing red or
green fluorescent proteins.
So let's get to the bottom line here: cellular computing. Who would've thunk? But if you consider it for a little bit, you'll see exactly how useful
this kind of biotechnology can be. Cells interact with each other on advanced levels, rivaling even the most sophisticated silicone network. Even
better, cells can regenerate and spawn, cutting down on repair costs and helping to automate future computing technology.
Not to mention the amount of data they can hold. What if a few little cells can hold 5 terabytes of information? Imagine postage stamp of cells. How
many terabytes is that? I don't know how much a cell can hold, but you have to admit - the possibilities are virtually limitless. Expand into biotech
cars, biotech homes, biotech medical equipment...you name it.
Ever been told you'd spend your future in a cell? I know I have. Pfft...next time I hear that, I'm going to say, "Cells are the future!" They won't
have a clue, but someday, it'll make sense to everyone. And I'm thinking that 'someday' isn't too far off.
edit on 17-11-2012 by AfterInfinity
because: (no reason given)