Feeds

Brit boffin tests LETTUCE as wire for future computers

'IoT' hypers can switch to the Internet of Trees any time they want

New hybrid storage solutions

The University of West England has used a lettuce to conduct electricity.

The wired vegetable is detailed on ArXiv by Andrew Adamatzky, who writes that the experiment was conducted as an extension of work done on slime mould as a computing medium. Such devices, Adamatzky writes, have potential but “slime mould based sensors and processor are very fragile, highly dependent on environmental conditions and somewhat difficult to control and constrain.”

Adamatzky and pals have therefore looked for alternatives to slime mold and have decided plants fit the bill because “Plants are, in general, more robust and resilient, less dependent on environmental conditions and can survive in a hostile environment of bio-hybrid electronic devices longer than slime moulds do.”

To test things out, an experiment was constructed in which a four-day-old lettuce seedling was used to connect two electrodes. After the application of Fluke voltmeter (of course!) it was found that “Lettuce seedling is somewhat a noisy wire. Its output potential oscillates.” Which isn't helpful for designing either sensors or computers.

But Adamatzy doesn't give up on the idea that plants could become replacements for wires.

“To incorporate plant wires into bio-hybrid self-growing circuits we must develop techniques for reliable routing of the plant roots between living and silicon components of the circuits,” he writes, suggesting as a first step towards such an innovation could be to “find a way of navigating plant roots in labyrinths.” He also mentions another experiment that “demonstrated that by employing chemotaxis and using volatiles it is possible to navigate the roots in simple binary mazes” and produced results that “... gives us a hope it could be possible to route plant wires in the same efficient manner as slime mould based wires are routed.”

Clearly we're a long way from Intel being able to tell us there's “Salad Inside”, or the Linus Torvalds' efforts focussing on upgrading a nut. But at least “green” computing is now more interesting than endless blathering about shaving electricity bills by a percent or two. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Thought that last dinosaur was BIG? This one's bloody ENORMOUS
Weighed several adult elephants, contend boffins
Chelyabinsk-sized SURPRISE asteroid to skim Earth, satnav birds
Space rock appears out of nowhere, buzzes planet on Sunday
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
'Duck face' selfie in SPAAAACE: Rosetta's snap with bird comet
Probe prepares to make first landing on fast-moving rock
Square Kilometre Array reveals its 1.6TB-a-day storage and network rigs
Boolardy Engineering Test Array - aka BETA - is about to come out of Beta
LOHAN invites ENTIRE REG READERSHIP to New Mexico shindig
Well, those of you who back our Kickstarter tin-rattling...
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.