Engineers at Columbia University have constructed the world’s first biologically-powered computer chip, using chemicals and techniques more often found in the cells of our own bodies.

In another example of the many dangers faced in overcrowded university labs, engineers from Columbia University have announced the invention of a new, biologically-powered chip:

“Hey!” shouts the computer scientists, “you got some ATP, the unit of organic cellular currency, in my solid-state semi-conductor!”

“No,” retorts the organic chemist, “you got some solid-state semi-conductor in my adenosine triphosphate, or ATP for short!”

Thus ends my one-act play about the invention of new computer chip that is powered by the same chemicals and processes that run the very cells in our bodies. As you’ve gleaned from the script, the solid-state “complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor” (CMOS) is using the stuff in our cells that normally ferries chemical energy for metabolism for its own use.

“In combining a biological electronic device with CMOS, we will be able to create new systems not possible with either technology alone,” says Ken Shepard, who led the study and is the main character in my second play-through of Mass Effect (he chooses synthesis, obviously).

The invention opens the door to a whole realm of electronics with biological components, able to accomplish tasks that neither could do before. Like conquering the Earth and using human beings as batteries, let’s say.

Source: Columbia Engineering

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