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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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  • Logical evolution (Score:4, Interesting)

    by zeropointburn ( 975618 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @05:26AM (#16318265) Journal
    DNA on silicon has already been done. Why not use a virus as scaffolding for memory, while we're at it? Granted, the virus' surface proteins are a functional part of the transistor. Given that we can already attach complex proteins (well, acids such as DNA) to silicon, there shouldn't be much trouble finding a method for similar tricks here. In other words, this is more practiceable than it sounds at first. I do wonder whether the virii or silicon traces are more resistant to heat, vibration, and radiation, though.
  • by ratherpedestrian ( 764909 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @07:19AM (#16318871)
    Chemical name of Dahlemense Strain of Tobacco Mosaic Virus is 3rd longest in English language, apparently (not sure I'd want to have a conversation with anyone who thinks this is really a valid English word, but anyway):

            acetylseryltyrosylserylisoleucylthreonylserylproly lserylglutaminyl-
            phenylalanylvalylphenylalanylleucylserylserylvalyl tryptophylalanyl-
            aspartylprolylisoleucylglutamylleucylleucylasparag inylvalylcysteinyl-
            threonylserylserylleucylglycylasparaginylglutaminy lphenylalanyl-
            glutaminylthreonylglutaminylglutaminylalanylarginy lthreonylthreonyl-
            glutaminylvalylglutaminylglutaminylphenylalanylser ylglutaminylvalyl-
            tryptophyllysylprolylphenylalanylprolylglutaminyls erylthreonylvalyl-
            arginylphenylalanylprolylglycylaspartylvalyltyrosy llysylvalyltyrosyl-
            arginyltyrosylasparaginylalanylvalylleucylaspartyl prolylleucylisoleucyl-
            threonylalanylleucylleucylglycylthreonylphenylalan ylaspartylthreonyl-
            arginylasparaginylarginylisoleucylisoleucylglutamy lvalylglutamyl-
            asparaginylglutaminylglutaminylserylprolylthreonyl threonylalanylglutamyl-
            threonylleucylaspartylalanylthreonylarginylarginyl valylaspartylaspartyl-
            alanylthreonylvalylalanylisoleucylarginylserylalan ylasparaginylisoleucyl-
            asparaginylleucylvalylasparaginylglutamylleucylval ylarginylglycyl-
            threonylglycylleucyltyrosylasparaginylglutaminylas paraginylthreonyl-
            phenylalanylglutamylserylmethionylserylglycylleucy lvalyltryptophyl-
  • Re:Ethical concerns (Score:2, Interesting)

    by witte ( 681163 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @07:24AM (#16318893)
    What, you mean like killing animals for food ? (Don't get me wrong - I like dead animal chunks for diner.)
    Or having wild animals evolve into domesticated shadows of their former selves just to cater to our emotional needs ?
    Or breeding/engineering tomatoes/cows/dolphins that are bigger/juicier/smarter ?
    IMO nothing new, really. It's basically just a matter of disccusing which methods of "improvement" are ethically acceptable.
    (And even this is circumstantial. In times of crisis, ethics == luxury.)

    I'm more concerned about developing self-replicating hybrid tech (the whole mutation/evolution meme).
    The thing is, that's exactly where money is to be made. So I guess it will happen eventually. And at some point it will go horribly wrong. And no lessons will be learned.
  • by ArwynH ( 883499 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @09:07AM (#16319853)

    Because lots of slashdot readers like to hear about technology that's being developed? Sure, the predictions are usually marketing speach, but the fact that the tech is being developed isn't.

    Dunno about you, but hearing that someone is trying to coat viruses in silicon to make faster memory gives me a kind of warm, fuzzy feeling deep inside.

Statistics are no substitute for judgement. -- Henry Clay