Duo-dimensional circuitry and nanosurgical devices.

When we think of circuitry, people tend to think of one of two things: Either fairly large discrete components that will balance comfortably on the tip of your finger (image credit: Creatively Maladjusted), or slabs of plastic and ceramic encapsulating integrated circuits which are comprised of millions upon millions of components. At the time I write this article we can fabricate circuitry on a scale of about 14 nanometers and in about two years we'll be able to reliably build circuitry around 10 nanometers in size, which is significantly bigger than the atoms of the elements used in chip manufacture …

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3D printing circuitry.

Arguably, even more important than bringing the price of 3D printers down to affordable levels is making them more practical. A commonly cited limitation of 3D printing right now is that they can only fab with one or two materials and can't really reproduce their own circuitry. They're both fair points, I can't argue with them. I can, however, point doubters in the direction of the Rabbit Pronto, a new print head for RepRap-derived 3D printers that is capable of fabbing functional electronic circuitry in addition to structural plastic. The Rabbit Pronto incorporates a 10cc syringe that can be …

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There's wearable computing, and then there's wearable computing.

Just last year around this time the company MC10 figured out how to fabricate small networks of sensors built out of flexible circuitry that stick to the skin of the wearer and collect biotelemetry. By sticking a single square of wavy, flexible circuitry someplace on your person you could keep a medical team appraised of certain aspects of your health. The tech curve, as always, moves like a roller coaster gone out of control... in the journal Nature Nanotechnology a research team at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology improved upon the design and created flexible circuitry tattoos that can …

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Project Byzantium: Milestone three in progress.

A brief post to catch everyone up while I'm at work:

Project Byzantium has been hard at work building a PTT (push-to-talk) circuit to support the third milestone of the ISC grant. What we're trying to do, in a nutshell, is this:

We have a couple of Baofeng UV-?R radios that we're trying to interface with laptops running Byzantium Linux. This is a known technology - ham radio operators have been doing datacomm over amateur radio frequencies for a couple of decades but this is a first for the three of us. What is posing a problem for us is …

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First steps toward programmable matter?

Arguably, since the dawn of the solid state era the human race has been experimenting with the development of computronium, or forms of matter optimized for the processing of information. The doped silicon semiconductors that make up the CPU and much of the supporting circuitry of the computer you're using right now are variants of computronium (albeit very primitive when compared with the above link). Most circuitry as we know it today has a few limitations that we don't often think about, however. First of all, it's on the fragile side. Drop a circuit board when it's not inside a …

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Deep brain stimulation, or, "That's funny..."

Marvin Minsky once said that the human mind operates at only one tenth of its full capacity because the rest is taken up by the operating system's overhead. I always thought that was kind of a funny statement. When you get right down to it, nobody's really sure how the brain functions, or even how the mind operates inside of the 2.8 pounds of matter behind your eyes. People have variously been stabbed in the head (ye gods), lost a full quarter of brain mass in accidents, and even had entire hemispheres surgically excised and gone on to live …

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