Different engines: The return of the mechanical computer

Now, mechanical computers are back. Teams of scientists across the U.S. are building new versions, though they’re a bit smaller. In fact, the moving parts in these “nanomechanical” computers may eventually be smaller than the smallest silicon transistors.

The research is being funded by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which hopes to develop computers that can survive in hot spots where conventional semiconductors would fry, such as inside weapons. Researchers say that the tiny mechanical computers will be far more energy-efficient than traditional semiconductors, will produce less heat and will withstand big voltage spikes that can burn out ordinary processors.

Source: Computer World.