A series of recent breakthroughs in miniaturization technologies seem to have moved the estimated time of arrival for ultra-small, ultra-cheap computers closer to the present. Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley have created microscopic bearings by clipping telescoping pairs of nanotubes, one-10,000th the width of a human hair, allowing the inner tube to spin within the outer. The resulting device can act either as a bearing or a spring. Meanwhile, Yale University scientists, using molecules synthesized by a Rice University chemist, are building electronic memories and simple logic elements made up of molecules that function as microscopic, individual switches. Though still prototypes, the switches seem able to outperform silicon in memory and logical functions and are, reportedly, "astonishingly easy" to manufacture.
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