Boggles The Mind

3 02 2010

Dan Cull asked about sci-fi and conservation and reminded me that it might be time to revisit Technovelgy, so off I went and found this:

Self-folding Origami is basically all about how DARPA is doing research into shape-shifting materials, a merger of material and computer so that an object is not limited by it’s original form or purpose.  Form follows function?  Not really.

This whole article is mind-boggling to me, for so many reasons.  First, that the government is doing this research.  Second…well…the matrix is real?  There is no spoon?

Here are some excerpts from the AFCEA article.  Note the use of the term “infochemistry”.  Now that’s a point of interest for library/chemistry geeks, isn’t it?

Although the concept of self-forming matter smacks of science fiction, Zakin says that considerable progress has been made in proving the technology’s underlying science. Developing programmable matter is also its own new field of study: infochemistry, which blends several different sciences such as chemistry, information theory and control engineering to build information directly into materials.

An important part of infochemistry is what Zakin describes as mesomatter, the particles needed to build structures….Not only does this combination of data and material allow for dynamic flexibility in creating structures, but he says that it can potentially create new states of matter. Conventional materials can transition from liquids to solids, but these new “infomaterials” can have infosolids, where the matter is solid and its information is localized; “infoliquids” where both the material and information are flowing, and any number of combinations in between.

WOWcool, huh?  They are manipulating DNA strands, enzyme reactions, and playing with something called molecular Velcro and other methods of adhesion.  Contemplate the possibilities.  Consider that Phase 3, application development, is supposed to start in about a year. Amazing.  Get ready.

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