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New Squishy Memristor Device: Friends Don’t Let Friends go Binary

21 July 2011 2,889 views No Comment

First of all, let me tell you that I’m so glad you could make it today and that you’re willing to listen to what I’m about to say to you – what I’m saying as your friend.  We’ve known each other a long time, and I’ve been thinking about how best to communicate my concern for a while now.  I guess I’ve come to the conclusion that the best way to say this is to be blunt and forthright and just come out with it: I think you are working on becoming a Cyborg.

I believe it started out with casual smart phone use in social situations – it was really convenient to communicate via text message and we all liked watching the Honeybadger video you found on YouTube while we were waiting for the bus.  I’ll admit I didn’t think anything of it when you mentioned you made 4,506 Facebook friends and had created an equal number of Google+ Circles.  I didn’t blink when you said you were also monitoring sixteen email accounts while a writing a blog about micro-finance, although in retrospect that seems like a lot.

Image courtesy bjcblog.wordpress.com

I started to worry when you let it slip that you were dabbling in electronics and that you had hacked a Microsoft Kinect. You started hanging out with a different crowd and you changed your behavior dramatically, staying up all night writing code.  You didn’t seem to care that you lost your job, and for the past month you’ve only emerged from your apartment to buy donuts and stepper motors.  You developed what I consider an unhealthy fascination with the movie Iron Man, even going so far as to characterize the sequel as, “an awesome flick.”

Image courtesy NCSU

But when you mentioned you were trying to get your hands on a biocompatible electronic device recently developed by researchers at NC State, I got really worried. I’m so worried I called your Mom, and now she’s worried too – and she’s making it your Dad’s problem. What on earth do you want with a soft, flexible memory device the consistency of Jell-O that functions in wet environments SUCH AS THE HUMAN BODY!?!?! I mean, this stuff could potentially interface with biological tissue!

The only thing I can think is that you are becoming a Cyborg.

I did a little digging, and I found out that the new device functions like a memristor, which is (as if you didn’t know):

“a passive two-terminal electronic component in which there is a functional relationship between charge and magnetic flux linkage. When current flows in one direction through the device, the resistance increases; and when current flows in the opposite direction, the resistance decreases, although it must remain positive. When the current is stopped, the component retains the last resistance that it had, and when the flow of charge starts again, the resistance of the circuit will be what it was when it was last active” (Wikipedia).

From what I can gather, the prototypes the researchers developed are flexible and can exist in two states: conductive or resistive. That’s important because two states could correspond to the 1s and 0s in binary computer code, and researchers are working on a way to program the devices, meaning that one day they might be able to interact with your neurons.

So tell me – and be honest: are you or are you not working on some kind of human/computer fusion project using yourself as a lab rat? Because if you are, I think we need to find you a support group.

WU XING:

Filed under wood due to the flexibility and hard/soft kind of quality.

Cited:

Dillow, Clay. “New Memory Device Feels Like Jell-O, Could Work Inside Your Body.” Popsci.com 7/14/11. Accessed 7/21/11. URL.

NCSU: Soft Memory Device Opens Door To New Biocompatible Electronics

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