Microchip construction has gone biological. UC Riverside announced last week that some of its researchers had discovered that the metal-corroding bacteria Shewanella extrude semi-conducting nanotubes that can be used for microchips or other tiny electronics devices. Here you can see a nest of Shewanella and tubes. (Nanotubes are semi-conductive, microscopic metal tubes, often considered the future of micro-electronics.) Will we start seeing biology branches at chip fabs?
Imagine vast bacteria farms, organically churning out nanotubes. It would be like a silkworm farm for nanopunks. Researcher Nosang Myung said:
We have shown that a jar with a bug in it can create potentially useful nanostructures.
Apparently, nobody knows exactly how the bacteria create the tubes, but scientists are already having some success manipulating their tubular output.
But wait, isn't incorporating biology into our electronics the first step to sentient machines and the Cylon revolution? Let's not worry about that now, kids.