translating biophilia into a love of life

Organic computing

with 2 comments

Woo! Organic computing is still on the map!

The carbon molecules alone in graphene (top), and with hydrogen (bottom).

Computer processors may soon have one fundamental aspect in common with their owners – a structure composed largely of carbon, rather than silicon.

Graphene, carbon arranged in atom-thick sheets, is already known to be an excellent conductor, but electronics requires the ability to insulate too, as well as electrical properties in between those two extremes.

Now research has shown that the material can be easily modified to act as an insulator, paving the way for efficient all-carbon electronics.

I hope to one day have a computer that is essentially a plant.  Or a lamp post that is also a tree.

The long and science-y version here.

A survey of alternatives to silicon-based computer components here.


Written by morethangray

January 29, 2009 at 3:30 pm

Posted in thoughts

2 Responses

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  1. I have no idea what this means.


    January 29, 2009 at 6:32 pm

  2. As a bit of background, I have a dream of linking the code and electricity used in computers with the genetic code and energy produced by plants. If it’s possible, plants could collect energy from the sun and use it to power computers.

    The code used by computers is binary, comprised of 0’s and 1’s. The code used by living organisms has 4 elements: A, C, T, G. In my mind, it’s not too far of a leap to knit the two together with some sort of “diplomat” or “translator” so the two languages can be translated back and forth.

    To make some huge chemical generalizations: computers are built from silicon. Silicon is not “organic” like living organisms (and products made by or from living organisms) because silicon does not have carbon (C) molecules in it’s structure; silicon is comprised entirely of silicon (Si) molecules. [Note: The term “organic” has an entirely separate meaning in chemistry from the commonly used phrase to describe farming practices.]

    The publication linked here shows one teensy step in this direction has been demonstrated as functional. The researchers demonstrate carbon-based graphene is capable of conducting and insulating electrical impulses, paving the way to an “organic” (i.e. carbon-based) alternative to silicon in computers. Making computers with a material common to that used by living organisms means research is that much closer to building my dream machines…


    January 30, 2009 at 10:15 am

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