Stanford powers computer using water droplets

Stanford powers computer using water droplets

1299
SHARE
Scientists at Stanford University have developed a computer that uses the unique physics of moving water droplets. By precisely controlling the droplets using a technique called fluidic computation, assistant professor of bioengineering Manu Prakash and his team have created a new class of computers that can manipulate physical matter. Such a computer could play a big role in analyzing biological or chemical samples. It begins with a glass slide no bigger than a postage stamp that contains a kind of maze made from iron bars. Another glass slide is put on like a lid and the middle is filled with a layer of oil. Water droplets no bigger than poppy seeds are infused with tiny magnetic nanoparticles and then injected into the oil. A rotating magnetic is then introduced. As it rotates, the magnetic field flips, pulling the magnetized droplets in a predetermined direction. Each rotation of the magnetic field counts as a clock cycle something all computers have and the presence or absence of a droplet represents the 1s and 0s of binary code in computer language. Remarkably, the magnetic field is able to control millions of droplets simultaneously.