Anyone who has spilled water on their laptop at least once in their life knows that the combination of H 2 O and computers is detrimental to the latter. What else could be just as dangerous for them? Magnets. Both are horrible, just horrible substances that kill computer technology ... That is why it was surprising to learn about the creation of a new computer, made using drops of water and an electromagnet.
A computer is a machine that is capable of following a given program or list of instructions. But the computer, which was first talked about in the journal Nature Physics, processes information differently than the modern electronic devices we are used to. Instead, he manipulates tiny water droplets.
"Drops are amazing stuff because they are like a little bag you can put whatever you want in, " said Manu Prakash, a Stanford bioengineer who developed the computer with his students.
In this case, Prakash and his team put a very small volume of magnetic nanoparticles inside the droplets and placed them in a tiny metal labyrinth about the size of a postage stamp. Metal grids act as conductive pathways along which magnetized droplets can travel. Their movement is equivalent to the sets of zeros and ones that form the basis of today's computing devices.
It is hoped that one day these tiny droplets will be able to work like test tubes, analyzing chemical or biological components much faster and much easier than any modern laboratory technology.
It is planned to release a working model of such a computer, but in the meantime, to see the machine in action, you can watch a video made by the Stanford team.