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Nanotubes are Coming
Hang on to your silicon

Right now, computing devices are all about switches - jillions of them talking, saying either "I'm on" or "I'm off". Manufacturers are trying to replace silicon based chips with something that can 'grow' even smaller, more switches packed into tighter confines that can be either on or off ever quicker.

Sequences of "I'm on" and/or "I'm off" are running really, really fast, but the scene in the operation is always the same at its core. "What are you now?" The answer is "I'm on" or "I'm off" and the results of all that are transforming data into logical results.

Yes, even the driving directions on your hand held smart device are the results of "yes" or "no", on or off switches interacting.

There are projects, currently, that are developing computing to mimic the operations of the human brain, and they are making real progress. Now that's something! There will come the day that your computing device will be reading what you are reading and comprehending. Opinions too? Probably.

But, back to the tubes. Carbon Nano Tubes are essentially single sheets of carbon rolled into tubes. The concept, using them to build chips, is not something new. But I.B.M. researchers were able to place ultra-small rectangles of the material in regular arrays by placing them in a soapy mixture to make them soluble in water. They used a process they described as “chemical self-assembly” to create patterned arrays in which Nano Tubes stick in some areas of the surface while leaving other areas untouched. And this is a break-through.

Atomic-level chemistry is the marvel: engineers can use the inherent assemblies of Nature to build stuff. Imagine a tiny - I mean really really tiny - house builder being able to construct a house merely by letting 2X4's assemble via chemical bonding (opposites attract). Outlandish? Not in nano technology. The tiny-tiny house would go up simply of it own valence properties and I guess the tiny-tiny carpenters would follow up with their tiny-tiny nailers and, well, you get the idea.

So what does this have to do with you?
Imagine this:

If the device that you use to do everything digital (communications, camera, fantasy role playing, maybe being guided through the bizarre back streets of Venice) is so small that it is, although very powerful, embedded somewhere, say in your clothing so your movements are not obstructed. The operation mimics the human brain. You communicate with it via various channels, hand movements, voice, and yes the old mind link. Researchers are already embedding these types of devices in humans with some success: the nervous system is communicating to the outside world.

Too far out? Oh, I don't know about that. The implications and sci-fi side of this are, well, getting closer to reality at an amazing pace.

Oh. I get it (not?). Maybe Senator Stevens, Alaska, will be vindicated eventually. "The Internet is a series of tubes..." he said. Maybe his legacy is Nano Tubes.


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