Tuesday, May 6, 2008
The missing link
Behold, the memristor. Why is this not bigger news? Being touted as the fourth entry to holy trinity of electronics today (resistor, capacitor, inductor), the memristor retains information about its state without power.
Now stop. Seriously think about that for about 30 seconds. This means no boot up times, no spinning platters, zero power consumption sleep mode, no phantom power sucking consumer electronics, essentially on demand activity - you flip the switch and you're instantly at the previous state. Just like a light bulb. I would not be surprised to see a new power box and wall plugs for homes, where a central power distribution unit that is sent an 'on' signal over the line, that kicks electricity only to the devices that need it. More safe (juice not flowing all over the house to cause fires or zap unsuspecting lil ones), more efficient (all wire has some resistance), and it jsut plain makes sense.
Right now the EE software doesn't take advantage of this basic, elemental part, but I am excited to see what incredible devices will be built in the future. I wonder how long until the process is commercialized and available everywhere. With this discovery, HP essentially vaulted themselves into the mindspace once only occupied by IBM. (HP's had some great research, but this kicked it up a level.)
Oh, and for BCIs, the biggest problem for future real-world applications if we figured out all the crazy decoding stuff, is power. Tada! Solved.
Then again, our (USA) energy problem = solved, for now. Even if it costs more to produce, which are you going to buy: The huge honkin HDTV and PC that suck down $150/year when off, or the memristor based versions that cost $200 more?
Sorry, this is one of those news items that totally gets me juiced. Heh, juiced. I'm funny to me when I regress.