Rather than thinking about computers in terms of their speed and memory, Stanford University's Drew Endy writes in an essay in The New York Times that people should consider computers' abilities to use important information. "A better way to think about the future of computing might be to ask when and where we could improve our ability to compute upon information that we greatly care about," he writes. And, as people care greatly about their health, simple computers could be made using biological materials like DNA or RNA to monitor people's health from inside their own cells. "I dream of much broader achievements," Endy adds. "For example, suppose we could partner with microbes and plants to record events, natural or otherwise, and convert this information into easily observed signals. That would greatly expand our ability to monitor the environment."
A Computer on the Inside
Dec 06, 2011