A computer made entirely out of hot ice
Sodium acetate is the stuff inside chemical handwarmers that emits heat when it crystalizes after you press that little metal widget. That's why it is known as hot ice. Now a computer scientist in the UK has created a computer made entirely out of hot ice. The device processes information by exploiting the movement and interaction of wavefronts of crystallisation as they move through the material. The data input is in the form of metal wires that trigger crystal nucleation. The output works by reading off the direction of the moving wavefronts and the edges of the resulting crystals. The researcher has created AND and OR gates and solved a few problems such as finding the shortest path through mazes. There are even a few videos of the computer in action. The resulting computer is far from perfect, however. The data readout sometimes gives no solution and at other times gives circular results, the hot ice equivalent of a BSOD.
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