Computing with water comes of age


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A Stanford bioengineer has designed a computer that calculates with water. The result could be faster, cheaper chemical processes on an industrial scale.
 
In Manu Prakash’s computer, water microdroplets infused with magnetic nanoparticles take the place of digital ones and zeroes. A magnetic field organizes the droplets the way a computer’s internal clock orchestrates electrical processes. As the field turns on and off, it directs the droplets through a maze of gates and channels the way that a regular computer shunts electrical pulses through pre-programmed routes.  
 
TRENDPOST: The droplets could be used as test tubes to carry out biological assays and chemical processes faster and cheaper than now.  The droplets can be made so small that millions could circulate on a chip and the processes could be operated at a size to suit commercial manufacturing – allowing minute control over materials, their combinations, and the processes that use them. 

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