Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Fluid Logic Chips

timothy posted about 10 years ago | from the if-rains-pours dept.

Technology 250

Doc Ruby writes "Colorado researchers 'have constructed microfluidic gates that use the relative flow resistance of liquid to carry out the basic logic operations NOT, AND, OR, XOR, NOR and NAND. The researchers have also combined a pair of gates into a half adder, which carries out half the operation of addition.' All CPUs processing binary logic are made of these types of gates, but usually execute as flows of electrons in wires, not fluids in tubes. Will this advance revolutionize chemistry and computing the way electric gates revolutionized electronics and computing? Will 'fluid programmers' give new meaning to "flowchart"?"

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

How fast? (3, Interesting)

cbrocious (764766) | about 10 years ago | (#10455519)

How fast could this ever be? Neat, but I dunno how this could ever be put to a practical use. Cool hack none the less.

Re:How fast? (1)

Detritus (11846) | about 10 years ago | (#10455548)

Speed of Light vs. Speed of Sound in a Fluid?

Which is faster?

Re:How fast? (4, Informative)

ikewillis (586793) | about 10 years ago | (#10455612)

I think you mean the speed of electrons. Electrons can't travel the speed of light (in a vacuum) [anl.gov]

Re:How fast? (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about 10 years ago | (#10455654)

Ok so lets say an electron can go at 1/10 the speed of light in a vacuum that is still a lot faster then we can move an object bigger then an atom.

Re:How fast? (3, Interesting)

polecat_redux (779887) | about 10 years ago | (#10455794)

that is still a lot faster then we can move an object bigger then an atom.

True, but you wouldn't necessarily need to move a specific liquid molecule through an entire path/circuit. For example, say you have a tube filled with water, and you were to apply pressure on one end, almost instantly, water would be expelled from the other end. The "distance" that any single molecule of water along the path would need to travel depends only on how much water you want to get out of the other end.

For lack of a better analogy, it would be like poking someone with a stick rather than throwing a rock at them - travel time is mostly eliminated.

Re:How fast? (2, Insightful)

Detritus (11846) | about 10 years ago | (#10455703)

I mean the speed of electromagnetic radiation, not electrons. Which is in the neighborhood of 0.6c in coaxial cable.

Re:How fast? (1, Insightful)

spectecjr (31235) | about 10 years ago | (#10455714)

I think you mean the speed of electrons. Electrons can't travel the speed of light (in a vacuum)

No, he means the speed of light. Electron flow speed has nothing to do with how fast electronic circuits can perform operations; it's the EM wave that is important, not the actual electronics themselves.

Think about it... you average processor speed is so fast that it's many bajillion times faster than the electrons can actually move. The clock signal is NOT transmitted as electrons - it simply can't be.

Re:How fast? (0, Flamebait)

cbrocious (764766) | about 10 years ago | (#10455785)

You, sir, are a moron. They didn't invent a new mechanism for transmitting a signal. Electrons _have_ to be used.

Re:How fast? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10455788)

You, sir, are a moron.

Re:How fast? (1)

lubricated (49106) | about 10 years ago | (#10455849)

I had mod points but there is no mod of

Dumb -1

Re:How fast? (2, Insightful)

forkboy (8644) | about 10 years ago | (#10455631)

Electrons dont move through copper at the speed of light. However, they do move faster than sound does through a fluid.

Re:How fast? (4, Informative)

wass (72082) | about 10 years ago | (#10455774)

Speed of light in vacuum, c, will always be faster than the speed of propogation of any particle, mode, or disturbance**.

The speed of light in a material is slower than in a vacuum, by a factor of the index of refraction (usually frequency dependent). Interestingly, it IS possible for particles to travel faster than this apparent speed of light, and in doing so they emit Cerenkov Radation [wikipedia.org] , which is how many high-energy physics particle detectors (eg SNO) detect individual particles.

** For the nitpickers who will inevitably respond to that generalization, it is occasionally possible (in theory, at least) to set up a mode in some carefully-devised system where the speed of propogation of this mode is faster than c, but this mode cannot carry information. Simple example is a linear array of equally-spaced pendula, each with the same fundamental frequency, and with a spring connecting the weights at the bottom to the two pendula on either side. If a mode is set up where all pendula are oscillating at their fundamental frequency, all of them at exactly the same phase, (springs always remain at their unstretched length) then the phase velocity of this mode is infinite. However, there can be no 'information' or disturbance transmitted down the system. In reality, thermal and quantum disturbances would disrupt this mode and it would eventually become something much more complicated. These disturbances would be transmitted at a finite velocity, less than c.

Re:How fast? (4, Funny)

wass (72082) | about 10 years ago | (#10455630)

Practical uses? Well, for starters, it's microfluidics. So if we're lucky, we'll finally be able to get one of these babies [si.edu] into a package small enough to fit in a watch. You've always wanted a digital watch, right?

It's amusing, but in 1967 this Fluidic Amplifier was billed as "the simplest device known for setting up digital circuit applications."

Re:How fast? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10455727)

You've got to admit, digital watches *are* a pretty neat idea.

Re:How fast? (4, Funny)

hunterx11 (778171) | about 10 years ago | (#10455762)

You've always wanted a digital watch, right?

That and little green pieces of paper.

Re:How fast? (4, Insightful)

grumpygrodyguy (603716) | about 10 years ago | (#10455687)

Will this advance revolutionize chemistry and computing the way electric gates revolutionized electronics and computing? Will 'fluid programmers' give new meaning to "flowchart"?"

How fast could this ever be? Neat, but I dunno how this could ever be put to a practical use. Cool hack none the less.

In all likelyhood this will never be used as a replacement for silicon. It's much more likely that stuff like this will be used in bioinformatics & pharmacuetical circles in order to perform massively parallel tests on different molecular combinations.

If there are over 1,000,000 molecular permutations of a particular family of drugs(or DNA). Perhaps this kind of computer could rapidly cycle through all such combinations. Maybe the testing reaction could be performed with a liquid-mechanical ALU of sorts. Then the results could be stored in a liquid memory bank where they could be reviewed. Perhaps indicator dyes, or electrical dyes could be used to signal positive/negative results. *shrug*

Re:How fast? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10455789)

or perhaps a better assumption is if used in conjunction with self-constructing nano devices, simple program the nano devices to build a cpu out of materials already found inside a human body?!

DNA pharma uses (1)

cinnamon colbert (732724) | about 10 years ago | (#10455797)

uhh..the thing about pharma or biotech apps, is that they require a lot of DIFFERENT liquids..this may not sound like much, but in practice simply keeping the solutions dust free is hard.. I don't quite see an app for this, but maybe i am dense also, this principle of controlled non turbulent mixing of fluid streams in microchannels has been demonstrated, at least 6 years ago by a company developing a T sensor; point is, anyone could have done this in the last 8 years, so hats off to colorado if they r smart enuf to understand why u shd

Re:How fast? (2, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 10 years ago | (#10455833)

It *is* silicon - it just routes tiny, single-file fluid molecules through empty channels, rather than really tiny clouds of electrons through conductive channels.

Re:How fast? (1)

squidinkcalligraphy (558677) | about 10 years ago | (#10455783)

I remember a lecturer telling us a story about when his engineering team created a controller logic system using air pressure in tubes - it was to be used in the real world in a factory, because an electrical system was not plausible due to the possibility of sparks, etc. The system worked, right up until they connected it to the air pressure system in the factory, which was too dirty, and the logic gates got jammed really quickly.

So, yes, there are practical uses for these kinds of things.

I swim the body fluidic. (3, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 10 years ago | (#10455817)

That could depend on the operations. In the electronic paradigm, fast CPUs process data in parallel, integrated across much slower networks, their messages processed by routers on a much higher symbolic level than processed in the CPUs. A possible fluidics architecture might process chemical reactions which code their results in their products, which are flags for the fluidic processor valve. So networks of partial results can be processed by these CPUs. There are many computational chemistry applications which could be complementary to this kind of processor, with fluids merely the medium which they chemistry conveniently produces, and these chips are suited to process. There's nothing uniquely informational about electrons; they're just the tiny tool we had mastered when we started applying the mechanics of info theory. Now we can harness our latent fluidics techniques, crossbred with our electronic techniques, for a hybrid that can use the most tractable properties of both.

Additionally, humans are more chemical than electronic. Even our neurology, often metaphorically "electric", is really an ion pump. All electronics require lots of adapters to couple with our senses, either chemical, optical or mechanical (including sound). These fluidics are in the same domain as our own primary physical existence. So integrating them with our biology might be more direct. Implants, sensors, medicine, all the much more personal tech applications might be more available to microfluidics than they've been to alien electronics. Surf's up!

Ahem (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10455520)

Will 'fluid programmers' give new meaning to "flowchart"?
Well no. That's ridiculous.

firster poster (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10455521)

first post, biatch!

It's not like this is new logic... (1, Interesting)

LostCluster (625375) | about 10 years ago | (#10455523)

Will 'fluid programmers' give new meaning to "flowchart"?"

Nice joke... but I don't quite understand what "fluid programming" would be compared to normal programming. Changing out the processor might allow things to be done faster, but it's not like these fluid chips will suddenly be able to complete a whole new set of logical operations, the chip technolgy just decides how the ones-and-zeros get stored... it doesn't really have much say in how they're going to be used, that's the programmer and complier's job.

When it comes down to it, every programming language gets reduced to assembly level code in order to actually runs. This is a new way to do binary logic mechanically, but until they get this to the speed of copper chips they're not going to be useful for much. And I just don't see any form of programming revolution happening from this.

Re:It's not like this is new logic... (2, Informative)

jcr (53032) | about 10 years ago | (#10455628)

When it comes down to it, every programming language gets reduced to assembly level code in order to actually runs.

Close, but what the hardware executes is machine language [wikipedia.org] , not assembly language [wikipedia.org] .

-jcr

Re:It's not like this is new logic... (4, Interesting)

NanoGator (522640) | about 10 years ago | (#10455639)

"This is a new way to do binary logic mechanically, but until they get this to the speed of copper chips they're not going to be useful for much."

Would they survive an EM burst?

Re:It's not like this is new logic... (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | about 10 years ago | (#10455795)

Adds a whole new meaning to "Your blood will boil!"

Re:It's not like this is new logic... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10455804)

Memory is vulnerable, not the CPU.

Re:It's not like this is new logic... (1)

nacturation (646836) | about 10 years ago | (#10455846)

Would they survive an EM burst?

Depends on frequency, intensity, and duration. How long does your cold cup of coffee stay cold when being microwaved on high?

Re:It's not like this is new logic... (1)

Flexagon (740643) | about 10 years ago | (#10455778)

Yes; the whole point of using abstractions like these (in this case, using a totally new technology to implement well-understood AND, OR, etc.) is to hide the underlying lower-level technology so that everything we already know can be reused on top. While there may be reasons that the whole system might be better or worse for some applications (somebody alluded radiation), once standard gates are available, there's no inherent reason why a fluid computer would need to be programmed any differently from other computers based on the same abstraction. Same old meaning for flowchart, at least above the gates.

Redundant Systems and Fluid Dynamics (3, Funny)

mfh (56) | about 10 years ago | (#10455525)

Will this advance revolutionize chemistry and computing the way electric gates revolutionized electronics and computing?

Not really, because it's basically a copy of the old way except utilizing fluid dynamics. The way electric gates revolutionized electronics was special because there was nothing like it before. What this will do, is enable better redundant designs for deep space probes. Also, a liquid computer likely doesn't get as hot or it won't be as much of a problem if it does.

Will 'fluid programmers' give new meaning to "flowchart"?"

No, we'll just fill all the systems with coffee and call ourselves The Happy Folk.

Re:Redundant Systems and Fluid Dynamics (1)

wickedsun (690875) | about 10 years ago | (#10455563)

Isnt that what CPUs are? a "better" way to implement these gates? Smaller, more efficient.
Altho I doubt this is some kind of great achievement (like the conversion from lamps to transistors), it is neato.

Re:Redundant Systems and Fluid Dynamics (2, Insightful)

deglr6328 (150198) | about 10 years ago | (#10455567)

Why would deep space probes use microfluidic logic processors? They may, on the other hand, be very useful for carrying out microchemical analytical techniques with a limited amount of reagent for things like life detection and geochemistry experiments on future planetary(Mars probably) rovers though.

Re:Redundant Systems and Fluid Dynamics (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | about 10 years ago | (#10455728)

Because a modern processor in space would suffer critical data faults due to unwanted radiation exposure.

With silicon designs, the larger gate size of the older processors means it is less susceptable to this kind of inteference. This same principle should hold - radiation should not not effect fluids in the way it tends to effect electron logic.

Now, if this microfluidic principle can be made to work reasonably quickly, then there is reasonable chance that it will overtake silicon as the prefered space certified design. :)

Re:Redundant Systems and Fluid Dynamics (1)

necama (10131) | about 10 years ago | (#10455709)

What this will do, is enable better redundant designs for deep space probes.

You might have problems with your fluid freezing in deep space; the background temperature is kinda cold.

Re:Redundant Systems and Fluid Dynamics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10455810)

there are "fluids" that are liquid at -200 F, like say nitrogen, possibly hydrogen/argon. I'n not sure how well a the system supporting the fluid would react to such cold extremes though

will... (2, Funny)

mr_burns (13129) | about 10 years ago | (#10455540)

will kevin costner star in a dramatization of the discovery as a bad actor with gills? "WaterLogicWorld".

Re:will... (1)

MarkMcLeod (759072) | about 10 years ago | (#10455576)

Baaaa-zing!

So in the future (4, Funny)

Camel Pilot (78781) | about 10 years ago | (#10455542)

Will we have computers with a logo that says

"Guinness inside"

Re:So in the future (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10455619)

I hope not, it should be the geek infront of the computer that is wearing that logo :)

Galloping gnards! A water-powered computer? (1)

the_quark (101253) | about 10 years ago | (#10455669)

Hey, it's the water powered computer [faqs.org] from the Crunchly saga! The future is finally here!

There are many subsequent panels in this story line, if you follow the links at the bottom of the Jargon entries...

Re:So in the future (1)

theparanoidcynic (705438) | about 10 years ago | (#10455757)

We have that now.

* Takes a sharpie and writes "Guinness Inside" on the case of his box and draws an Intel swirl around it. *

Sometimes it pays to have cases salvagd from the trash. I'd like to see you impulsively do something like that neon-tubing, uv-glow, chrome-fan-guard boys . . . . . . . .

What about microscopic steam-based logic gates? (2, Funny)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | about 10 years ago | (#10455543)

That would be totally retro. And it would allow AMD to enter the business.

Re:What about microscopic steam-based logic gates? (1)

harrkev (623093) | about 10 years ago | (#10455575)

Yup! Moore's law gets to live on - just in fluids instead of silicon. Cool.

And now that fancy water-cooling system in your box can also power your processor. Yeah!

But overclockers will then need larger and larger pumps. It's all fun and games untill some kid pokes his eye out hooking up a pressure washer pump to his computer.

Re:What about microscopic steam-based logic gates? (1)

Behrooz (302401) | about 10 years ago | (#10455763)

Replace 'eye' with 'brain', and you could have the scientific accident which results in the creation of a new superhero... "THE BRAIN"

Gmail Invites ;-) (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10455554)

Re:Gmail Invites ;-) (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10455641)

Thanks, anonymous dude!

Ever seen the inside of an automatic transmission? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 10 years ago | (#10455556)

Go check out some pictures of one sometime, and check out the part that looks like a maze... and prepare to be amazed. This is only new technology because it's been miniaturized.

Re:Ever seen the inside of an automatic transmissi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10455842)

this is so far off the subject. The complexity of the fluidic system in an automatic transmission has nothing to do with the a fluidic logic circuit. The day shifting gears makes your car 'think' call me

Oh good lord.... (1)

Malek the Damned (694215) | about 10 years ago | (#10455559)

Will 'fluid programmers' give new meaning to "flowchart"?"

Worst. Pun. Ever.

Re:Oh good lord.... (1)

Timber_Z (777048) | about 10 years ago | (#10455607)

Worst Quote Ever!
Think I'll go to the Comic Store...

Re:Oh good lord.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10455726)

If you're going to use that cliche, get it right:

Worst. Pun. Evar.

Old logic, new gates (2, Informative)

k_yarina (732607) | about 10 years ago | (#10455561)

Fluidics has been around for a long time.. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fluidic_logic

In Eastern Germany (4, Informative)

retostamm (91978) | about 10 years ago | (#10455572)

in the 1970's there was a lot of research on Pneumatic Computing. I read a book about that a while back (can't remember the title).

Essentially it worked the same way, plus they had a little "Transistor" where a big airstream would be disturbed if a small control airstream is on.

Obvious advantages of that technology:
- You only need to be able to cut sheetmetal and weld it together
- Not affected by X-Rays unless you melt it (think MAD/Nukes)
- Probably no cooling problems (not sure about this)

Of course, it'd be also very slow. And big.

Re:In Eastern Germany (1)

NanoGator (522640) | about 10 years ago | (#10455662)

" - Not affected by X-Rays unless you melt it (think MAD/Nukes)"

Kinda curious what Nasa would think of that. They're not a big fan of radiation causing random bits on a chip to get flipped.

Re:In Eastern Germany (1)

MrTwist (807101) | about 10 years ago | (#10455807)

I remember reading about this back in the day as a way to EMP proof computing systems. I'm sure there's a need for it somewhere. ICBM logic perhaps?

Re:In Eastern Germany (1)

crmartin (98227) | about 10 years ago | (#10455816)

You're thinking of "fluidics". Was a big deal for about 20 minutes.

Re:In Eastern Germany (1)

crmartin (98227) | about 10 years ago | (#10455829)

It's even on Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] .

chemistry and computing? (4, Interesting)

k98sven (324383) | about 10 years ago | (#10455573)

Will this advance revolutionize chemistry and computing the way electric gates revolutionized electronics and computing?

I'm not sure if this is a typo.. but I see no real use for this in computing.. unless you want computers which (at best) work like conventional ones except much, much, much, slower.

However, in chemistry.. it may very well become a big thing. One possible use I can think of is for building automated little microlaboratories, controlling the mixage and flow of different chemicals.

This, in general, is a hot research topic in chemistry.. Already in biotech a lot of things similar to this are being put to practical use (Chip assays is an example).

Basically, it's the revolution of miniaturization which is (finally..) coming to chemistry.

Reasons for Fluidics (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 10 years ago | (#10455693)

One quick reason for using fluidics is they are not susceptible to magnetic radiation.. such as from an emp bomb..

They are also really useful in direct control of fluids..

There are many others of course, but those 2 come to mind.

Re:chemistry and computing? (1)

k98sven (324383) | about 10 years ago | (#10455706)

Actually.. To respond to my own post with a little elaboration:

You could be possible to build a micro-lab which tests for something by mixing a sample fluid with different reagents and combining that with some 'fluid-logic' in order to determine the result.

Besides research, I could imagine good practical use for this kind of technology in forensics.

Obviously, a small, cheap and easy-to-use (maybe even disposable) test which could be done directly at a crime scene could be very important in catching criminals.

chemistry and computing?-Donkey Kong Lab. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10455806)

Combine fluidics with MEMs and other developments in chemistry. One could concivably have a portable crime lab the size of a gameboy advance.

Advanced? This is 50's technologies (3, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | about 10 years ago | (#10455578)

The application of fluidics has been around for ages.. even before tubes and 'electronic logic' we had fluidics.. both analog and digital.

Sure its still cool, but dont call it 'advanced'..

Geesh..

Sounds great but... (1)

lakcaj (811907) | about 10 years ago | (#10455592)


Of course I didn't RTFA, but what happens if:

1. The device is not level or turned on its side?
2. The device is accelerated?

It would seem to me that a device that uses fluid dynamics might be subject to the effects of gravity/acceleration... hardly suitable for the control system in a fighter jet for example :)

Re:Sounds great but... (4, Informative)

k98sven (324383) | about 10 years ago | (#10455649)

The width of these channels is 100 micrometers.

The flows here are created by the capillary forces which dominate at that size.

No gravity required.

Could be useful in some harsh environments (1)

erichill (583191) | about 10 years ago | (#10455596)

It seems that like mechanical microdevices [economist.com] , fluid devices could be resistant to such things as high radiation environments. Sometimes survivability is more important than speed. While I don't have a reference handy, it seems to me that fluid devices might even have an advantage over mechanical devices when mechanical shock resistance is important. While it may interrupt operations, the device wouldn't have any small gears to break off. I'd be interested in hearing about the vulnerabilities of these devices.

Fluid computer in Cold War? (3, Informative)

isdale (40622) | about 10 years ago | (#10455716)

I recall there was a ballistics computer built back during the cold war. The idea was that it was immune to radiation effects (EMPulse). I cant find a reference to it in a quick web search.

Frozen hack... (2, Funny)

sarcastro73 (793718) | about 10 years ago | (#10455597)

Whoever thought that supercooling a processor would completely prevent ANDing two bits?

This just in... (1)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | about 10 years ago | (#10455601)

Adding machine invented that uses gears, chains and pulleys to add two numbers together.

And no, I didn't RTFA, but I agree with other comments that this fluid stuff sounds like a very cool hack and may have some practical application somewhere.

"Memory leak" will now have a double meaning (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10455604)

and you'd probably have to heat up the processor to overclock it, at least if fluid viscosity is related to temperature.

Don't.. (1)

FiReaNGeL (312636) | about 10 years ago | (#10455609)

Don't think we'll have fluids computers someday... electron > H20. Instead, I think that such things could be used in microfluidics chips(yeah I know, kinda obvious), especially in biotechnology-related applications. Pretty cool progress is made in this field... someday, we may have a 'lab-on-a-chip' to diagnose a bunch of diseases with a drop of blood, or analyse samples quickly (mission to Mars?).

Teaching tool? (2, Interesting)

supz (77173) | about 10 years ago | (#10455610)

Couldn't this be used as a great tool for teaching? You should show people exactly what is happening inside a processor. It's always so difficult to get people to picture something they cannot see, and this would make a great visual example

Re:Teaching tool? (1)

supz (77173) | about 10 years ago | (#10455655)

Whoops... you *could* show people exactly what is happening inside the processor. :D

XOR (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10455616)

OK, a dumb question. It's been a few years since I took a logic course. I know what all the others are but would someone mind telling me what XOR is?

Re:XOR (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10455666)

Use a search engine, dumbass.

Re:XOR (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10455698)

It stands for "eXclusive OR" -- it is either one thing or another, but not both. In other words, if either input (but not both) is on, the circuit is on.

The logic gate is:
[0 0] 0
[0 1] 1
[1 0] 1
[1 1] 0

Re:XOR (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10455725)

You can also form an XOR operation with AND's, OR's and NOT's.

A XOR B = (A AND [NOT B]) OR (B AND [NOT A])

How would you cool such computing devices? (2, Informative)

deragon (112986) | about 10 years ago | (#10455623)

How would you cool such computing devices? Surround the tubes with coils and have electricity flowing through them? ;)

Cool Running (4, Insightful)

overshoot (39700) | about 10 years ago | (#10455626)

Hate to break the news, but unless someone finds a way to use superfluids (lossless flow fluids, like liquid helium) for these, they're gonna take power to run.

At a rough guess from scaling theory, they're gonna take several orders of magnitude more energy/bit than electronic gates.

Fluid gates fast enough? (1)

NathanE (3144) | about 10 years ago | (#10455629)

I really don't see fluid gates becoming anywhere near fast enough to compete with electronic ones. I would think that pushing fluid through millions of tiny "pipes" would tend to be loud too (anybody have any info on this?). Who knows though ... maybe I'm just not creative enough. :)

It has to be said... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10455637)

Imagine a Beowulf... Nah.

In Soviet Russia...

Ah, never mind.

uh.... (0)

WindowLicker916 (704800) | about 10 years ago | (#10455684)

HAHAH HE SAID FLOWCHART!! get it??? water??? water flows???? FLOW CHART!! HOW DOES HE DO IT?!?!?!? *cough*

Debugging (1)

LegoEvan (772742) | about 10 years ago | (#10455688)

Not only might you have to actually de-bug the damn thing, imagine the consequence of poor programming.

Talk about your memory leaks!

Practical Use? (1)

asciiwhite (679872) | about 10 years ago | (#10455695)

have constructed microfluidic gates that use the relative flow resistance of liquid

Like anything we require force to move it. And Liquid even with alot of pressure still moves extremly slow compared to the speed of electrons....

There are still some bugs in the water gates... (3, Funny)

hpa (7948) | about 10 years ago | (#10455699)

Okay, this definitely calls for a link to... Crunchly! [catb.org]


Mandatory reading for the larval [catb.org] geek [catb.org] ...

their XOR looks busted (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10455732)

In the photo, 0 ^ 0 is 1... they need some work...

Corning fluidics (from about 1972) (5, Interesting)

klubar (591384) | about 10 years ago | (#10455755)

Many years ago (about 1972), Corning and others made "fluidics" devices that used air to implement simple nand gates. They were looking for applications, such as explosive environments (fireworks factories, cotton processing) that relays wouldn't work well in. The devices had simple sensors and could implement logic by combining nand gates. There were a couple of competitors that made fluidic devices. The Corning were small black cans about 2" high and 1/2 around; the air supply was connected on the top and there were 4-inputs and one output on the bottom.

Cute, but they went no where. I put together a neat high school science fair project with them and got to the county level.

Nice to see the concept recycled.

No fp! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10455784)

No frist prost!

...new meaning to "flowchart"? (1)

potus98 (741836) | about 10 years ago | (#10455800)


Will 'fluid programmers' give new meaning to "flowchart"?"

Well, it'll certainly give new meaning to piss poor code.

And instead of bugs in our code, will we have proterozoins? "Gee, that's some pretty proterozoiny code ya got there."

Zounds (2, Funny)

omarius (52253) | about 10 years ago | (#10455802)

Certinly puts a new spin on 'memory leak.'

So, we have come full circle (1)

karlandtanya (601084) | about 10 years ago | (#10455803)

Back to fluidics...
You can find fluid control systems (typically pneumatic) in explosion hazard areas.
Not new. Just smaller.

Combine with plastics and you have something (1)

mike_lynn (463952) | about 10 years ago | (#10455815)

Currently, people who have assistive devices like pacemakers are unable to do certain things (like stand near a high power magnet). With this type of device and plastic composites, you could drastically reduce the amount of metal in surgically implanted devices.

Hopefully they won't leak like the breast implants.

Old technology new package. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10455822)

The only new thing that I see here is the fact that they shrunk the size of fludic logic. In the 60s and 70s there were many control systems built using air powered fludic logic. Today, most of these designs would be implemented using embedded microprocessors or programmable logic controllers. The big draw backs to fludic design were size and the need for clean dry compressed air. The circuits were easy to build, change and maintain. They also were reliable and immune to ESD.

microfluid logic basic research (1)

ThomasMis (316423) | about 10 years ago | (#10455830)

If anyone wants more in-depth information about microfluid logic, they can read the research work from Toshinori Munakata [csuohio.edu] at Cleveland State University [csuohio.edu] with the Colorado School of Mines researchers: Flow resistance for microfluidic logic operations [csuohio.edu]

Flow Chart? How about liquid cooling... (1)

lullabud (679893) | about 10 years ago | (#10455831)

That's a pretty complex flow chart, if you ask me, but I suppose the logic is all the same. My first thought was more along the lines that the cpu could cool itself in the very act of computing. Neat idea. :) If only we could teach electricity to cool itself, since it's incredibly doubtful that fluidic cpu's are going to be giving us an extra edge.

Backup computer for dynamically unstable aircraft? (1)

steveha (103154) | about 10 years ago | (#10455850)

Modern fighter aircraft are dynamically unstable, and cannot be flown with simple mechanical controls; you need a flight computer and a "fly-by-wire" system.

So, in theory, an electro-magnetic pulse (EMP) could make a fighter airplane crash by knocking out the computer that keeps it stable in the air.

The F-16 is one of these dynamically unstable aircraft. I thought I had read, years ago, that the F-16 has a fluidic backup computer that is smart enough to keep it flying if the main computer goes down. However, I have been Googling, trying to find a web page to back up this memory, and I haven't found anything. Maybe my memory is wrong.

Whether it has already been done or not, this seems like something the military would be interested in.

steveha
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?