Indian scientists make memristor from human blood

In what appears not to be a gruesome April Fool’s joke, Indian scientists have shown that a memristor, an experimental component that promises to increase the efficiency of computer systems, can be fashioned from human blood.

The idea of a memristor, a component of electrical circuits that ‘remembers’ the strength of the current that passes through it after that current is switched off, was first postulated in the 1970s. Its creator Professor Leon Chua then described it as the fourth fundamental circuit element, after the resistor, capacitor and inductor.

But it was not until 2008 that the theory was successfully put into practice. Hewlett Packard research fellow R Stanley Williams, who created the memristor in his laboratory, explained that it would allow memory chips that do not require an energy intensive boot up to get going. “This opens up a whole new door in thinking about how chips could be designed and operated,” he said at the time.

Now, in a paper published in the International Journal of Medical Engineering and Informatics, a group of Indian scientists claim to have constructed a memristor out of human blood.

By inserting two electrodes into 10ml of blood, they were able to show that the liquid itself has memristor-like qualities. They were also able to demonstrate that a device with blood running through could exploit these qualities.

The paper’s publisher speculated that the discovery “bodes well” for the possibility of interfaces between computers and biological systems.

Pete Swabey

Pete Swabey

Pete was Editor of Information Age and head of technology research for Vitesse Media plc from 2005 to 2013, before moving on to be Senior Editor and then Editorial Director at The Economist Intelligence...

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