We Now Have a Computer That Operates On Water Droplets
Not even in a million years I would have imagined a computer operating on water droplets. I keep my $1500 PC build and water far away from each other as possible.
Both of these things aren’t meant to be together.
But things are different in Manu Prakash’s lab. Prakash, who is an assistant professor of bioengineering at Stanford University, teamed-up with his students to create a unique synchronous computer that operates by using the physics of moving water droplets.
The idea for such a device came to Prakash when he was just a graduate student. His expertise in manipulating droplet fluid dynamics combined with operating clock – a fundamental element of a computer – helped on the creation of this computer.
“In this work, we finally demonstrate a synchronous, universal droplet logic and control.” The droplet computer is capable of performing (theoretically) any task that a traditional electrical computer can. However, compared to our normal computers, droplet computer is much slower.
We already have digital computers to process information. Our goal is not to compete with electronic computers or to operate word processors on this.Our goal is to build a completely new class of computers that can precisely control and manipulate physical matter.
Imagine if when you run a set of computations that not only information is processed but physical matter is algorithmically manipulated as well. We have just made this possible at the mesoscale
The capability to control droplets with fluidic computation, may have plenty of applications in high-throughput chemistry and biology.
You can read more about the droplet computer here.