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Making Computer Memory From a Virus 196

An Ac writes, "By coating 30-nanometre-long chunks of tobacco mosaic virus with platinum nanoparticles, researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, have created a transistor with very fast switching speed. They say it could eventually be used to make memory chips for MP3 players and digital cameras. A device fitted with such a virus-chip would access data much more quickly than one using flash memory."
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Making Computer Memory From a Virus

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  • Buzzzzzwords! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tygerstripes ( 832644 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @05:17AM (#16318223)
    Tobacco, virus, nanotech... oh my!

    I can't wait to see how quickly this tech is misunderstood by politicians and eco-warriors!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 05, 2006 @05:24AM (#16318257)
    Soemthing that typically reads 128kbps doesn't exactly require heaps of bandwidth.

    Why isn't this suitable for general purpose memory, or cache?
  • by Maddog Batty ( 112434 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @05:35AM (#16318325) Homepage
    100 microsecond switch speed is very very slow for modern transistors (mentioned in article). What am I missing here? Is there a mistake in the article?
  • by QuantumG ( 50515 ) <> on Thursday October 05, 2006 @05:36AM (#16318339) Homepage Journal
    the "basic research == future product" meme. For fuck sake. I bet if you were to go back the last 5 years and collect up all these articles and do a little survey of whether or not ANY of these bullshit descriptions of future products have come to pass you would find that NONE of them have. Why? Because if you discover something that could be turned into a product, you don't tell the world; you go find a venture capitalist and make the damn product.

  • by Tim C ( 15259 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @05:59AM (#16318447)
    I hope you don't wear silk, eat meat, wear leather...
  • by dk-software-engineer ( 980441 ) * on Thursday October 05, 2006 @06:10AM (#16318517)
    Soemthing that typically reads 128kbps doesn't exactly require heaps of bandwidth.
    It does when I update it, or just use it for generic data-transfer.
  • by teslar ( 706653 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @06:10AM (#16318523)
    You obviously have a point, but I think this (and all previous instances you refer to) is just a spin to keep funding bodies and marketing droids happy. Use your research to answer some fundamental philosophical questions on life, the universe and everything or whatever and you'll get a big yawn. Say that you're using nanotech, use the words "faster memory", "ipod" and "could replace flash" in one sentence, basically make dollar signs appear in the marketing droids' eyes, and you get to be in the news everywhere, people notice you and the next grant application should go a lot smoother.
  • by Xiph1980 ( 944189 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @06:37AM (#16318631)
    I wasn't saying "this isn't ok", I was *asking* "is this ok?" I wanted to get the critical thought flowing and read some opinions about this. Most people have pointed out that we "subvert" plant and animals all the time, to eat them. I think this is ok, as long as the suffering for the animals involved is kept to a minimum. I also think it's ok to kill bacteria & whatnot that cause human suffering and illness, and within reason to use bacteria for our own purposes (for good, not for evil), etc. My initial question comes from my philosophy about living creatures, which is that everything has a right to live it's own life, free from human exploitation - everything doesn't exist solely for human consumption. Perhaps I'm taking this to an unreasonable extreme applying this to virii, which is why I asked my original question in the first place :-)

    Humans are part of the animal kingdom like any other animal is. We need to eat and need to live.
    To do this, certain sacrifices need to be made. If a lion kills for its lunch, he really doesn't think about wether or not the creature aimed for has pain or not. He kills as fast as possible so he can eat as fast as possible, because the hyena's are close to take his food from him.
    In this aspect we are much more gentile towards the animals we use for food. We already do much to lower the "terror aspect" that cattle has to endure at the end of their life. No matter though how much we try, there always will be that pain and suffering.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that your philosophy about life, or as you say it: "everything has a right to live it's own life, free from human exploitation" might be stained about that you apparently think that we are much different from other animals. We are not. We love as other animals. We fight as other animals, and we wage war as other animals. We cheat, bribe, and make sacrifices, just as (m)any other animal.
  • Temperature? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Plutonite ( 999141 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @07:55AM (#16319099)
    Even virus RNA and cell wall can disintegrate at high temps. Will my memory melt if the cooling is not perfect?
  • by tonsofpcs ( 687961 ) <> on Thursday October 05, 2006 @09:18AM (#16319995) Homepage Journal
    Yes, but it is faster than flash.

    Doesn't anybody ever actually read these links? Oh wait, this is /.
  • by sparkyng ( 635050 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @09:39AM (#16320267)
    This raises an ethical concern for me. I think we should be asking ourselves "Is it really ok to subvert lifeforms like this for our own use?"

    I think of it more as a mutualism (or the very least, commensalism). The sole purpose of a virus is to replicate. Many viruses do that at the detriment to its host. But what better way to replicate than to become beneficial to the host (in this case, by storing data) such that the host actively "breeds" more of the virus? It's akin to saying you're "subverting" the bacterial flora in your gut for your own digestive purposes.

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