Wednesday, October 26th 2011

R&D: Future Computers Could Be Powered By Living Gut Bugs

Boffins at Imperial College London have been researching the use of bacteria to create standard logic gates such as AND, NOR & NOT to construct a living computer with. They have actually created working prototypes that give the correct logical outputs for the corresponding inputs. The bacteria used was the common E. coli found in the gut and as typical food poisoning in a meal from a bad restaurant.

The scientists have also shown that these gates can be connected together combinatorialy, to provide complex logic functions, something that's critical to building any kind of digital circuit that is to have a useful function, such as a processor, no matter how simple. This original work, published in Nature magazine is worded in highly technical scientific language and is not easily understandable by us mere untrained mortals. However, for those that wish to dare try, click here. Here's a small sample:
The circuits were assembled using a parts-based engineering approach of quantitative characterization, modelling, followed by construction and testing. The results show that new genetic logic devices can be engineered predictably from novel native orthogonal biological control elements using quantitatively in-context characterized parts.
What?!

Despite this complexity, as with most ideas in science, the underlying idea is actually quite simple to understand: these living bugs are put together in such a way as to make a digital logic gate. However, these logic gates don't use signals in electrical form, but instead use proteins expressed by genes as their inputs and outputs. Because these gates are modelled on the standard forms used in digital computers for the last 60+ years, they function in an equivalent way.

No word on performance compared to silicon, which one would expect to be much faster, their operating lifetime (they die?) or the possible uses of such devices in a future PC, yet. It looks like these types of living circuits are best suited for such applications as use within the body to detect things such as cancer, preventing heart attacks by cleaning arteries, plus neutralizing toxins in the environment, among a host of other possibilities. Note that just because one can't currently think of a use for this in a desktop PC, it doesn't mean that it can't happen. Many scientific discoveries and inventions didn't find their true purpose for years, with a fine example being the laser. The principle was established in 1917 by Einstein in his work 'On the Quantum Theory of Radiation', but working devices didn't appear until the late 1940s and it took decades longer until lasers were fully exploited commercially, but now they are everywhere.Sources: Nature, PC World
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34 Comments on R&D: Future Computers Could Be Powered By Living Gut Bugs

#1
nt300
Interesting. Connect life matter to artificial :eek:
Posted on Reply
#2
qubit
Overclocked quantum bit
Double virus attack

These could be hit by two kinds of viruses: the usual computer program kind and those little biological buggers. :eek: How the hell would you disinfect that?!

Plus, fancy using a PC based on a deadly bug - wouldn't you have to wash your hands every time you used one of these? :laugh: What about food and water? Imagine going to a pet store to get "food" for your computer. :wtf: And then you couldn't overclock it too much, because a little too much heat and they all die off...
Posted on Reply
#3
xBruce88x
mediasorcerer said:
welcome to the borg,
assimilate or die!!

a core 2700ke coli
hah! well if it tries that i'll pull out a can of Raid.

JATownes said:
A bug powered bug! I would love to see how they market this!

http://cdnimg.visualizeus.com/thumbs/75/42/beetle,insect-7542a677e44824bb8dc2c577cd3e18a8_m.jpg
hmm... if they used bug legs on it then it would really be all terrain. heh... imagine crawling upside down in a tunnel to get thru a traffic jam

qubit said:
These could be hit by two kinds of viruses: the usual computer program kind and those little biological buggers. :eek: How the hell would you disinfect that?!

Plus, fancy using a PC based on a deadly bug - wouldn't you have to wash your hands every time you used one of these? :laugh: What about food and water? Imagine going to a pet store to get "food" for your computer. :wtf: And then you couldn't overclock it too much, because a little too much heat and they all die off...
I walk into a petsmart...
"yea im looking for the computer food"
clerk.. "sure, what breed so i can recommend the most nutritional food. It'll help it stay energetic and active as well as promote a healthy shiny case"
me "um, well my desktop is a gen5 core i20 9600k but i have an ubuntu server with a 16core arm core and an ipad 10"
clerk, "ok isle 9 will have intel food in eather dry or canned, seed for arm breeds is the same isle as birde, isle 3. we dont carry food for apple breeds, you will need to special order or go to an exotic pet store"
me "oh ok thanks"
clerk "oh and no overclocking,
its inhumane and illegal"
Posted on Reply
#4
n-ster
xBruce88x said:
clerk "oh and no overclocking,
its inhumane and illegal
"
:roll:
Posted on Reply
#5
NinkobEi
xBruce88x said:
hah! well if it tries that i'll pull out a can of Raid.



hmm... if they used bug legs on it then it would really be all terrain. heh... imagine crawling upside down in a tunnel to get thru a traffic jam



I walk into a petsmart...
"yea im looking for the computer food"
clerk.. "sure, what breed so i can recommend the most nutritional food. It'll help it stay energetic and active as well as promote a healthy shiny case"
me "um, well my desktop is a gen5 core i20 9600k but i have an ubuntu server with a 16core arm core and an ipad 10"
clerk, "ok isle 9 will have intel food in eather dry or canned, seed for arm breeds is the same isle as birde, isle 3. we dont carry food for apple breeds, you will need to special order or go to an exotic pet store"
me "oh ok thanks"
clerk "oh and no overclocking,
its inhumane and illegal"
*aisle, isle is an island
Posted on Reply
#6
xBruce88x
you can thank my android's keyboard for that
Posted on Reply
#7
de.das.dude
Pro Indian Modder
if these bugs make our processors in the future, the phrase "i killed my CPU while OCing it" will have a very true meaning LOLOLOLOL
Posted on Reply
#8
WarraWarra
This is old school, there was easier more efficient ways that was used, they are on the right track just need to broaden their concepts a bit more. Nice to see the public sector finally catching on.

... protein ...... pcboard ... replace ...... cpu / gpu ....... nano bridges ...... heatsink ........ 56k cores ...... 17w @ 7.83ghz ...... 2048 bit .... stable ...... 0.318V ..... 26.781C .... ;) ;)

Or the organic, non gmo, non hybrid plant material with passive nano bridges for space gps systems plant cell processors ............... It takes a lot of "juice" to navigate out there.

The self sustaining organic enzyme battery's now that is nice ;) ;)

That is all I am allowed to mention.
Posted on Reply
#9
The_
So if I wanted to take down any PC's in the future all I would need is a Royal Raymond Rife frequency generator. /Hatches evil plan... :laugh:
Posted on Reply