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Plastic computers taking shape, but won't replace silicon

Agam Shah | April 21, 2014
Can plastic materials morph into computers? A research breakthrough published this week brings such a possibility closer to reality.

"The plastic devices are very important in certain areas of light emission but have tended not to be important in communication," Flatte said.

The researchers were more concerned about making the technology happen — environmental concerns related to plastic are a completely different discussion, Flatte said.

To be sure, there are plastic devices with silicon computers in them already on the market, like a baby garment from Rest Devices, which has electronics to measure a baby's motion, temperature, breathing patterns and pulse. And before this week, basic transistors made out of plastic had been demonstrated. Now, this latest research establishes a method for plastic devices to read data from storage.

"The writing problem would have to be solved. But I think [reading] is an important step forward," Flatte said.

 

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