October 27, 2008

Intel digital multi-radios needed for Micron Scale Claytronics

Intel's CTO Justin Rattner had several highlights at this weekend's Singularity Summit.

1. Claytronics catom components are now millimeter size in the lab and will be micron size in 5-10 years.
2. Intel will have all digital multi-radios in 2009. Digital components can be miniaturized far better than analog and can have benefits in terms of performance.
3. Intel has a solid roadmap to 11nm lithography in 2015.

The digital multi-radio will help enable micron catom claytronics
Currently pixels on high resolution two dimensional monitors are 10-20 microns in size. Millimeter size pixels would have a resolution of 200 X 300 for a 20cm X 30 cm monitor. If the pixels were micron size then resolution would be 20,000 X 30,000 or four hundred times better than HDTV.

Claytronics with micron size catoms would make moving and electronically functional three dimensional objects. They could be used for 3D faxing and dynamic three dimensional computer aided design. A layer of claytronics could cover an object like a desk or car and display moving images.



Our current system uses 8 transmitters and 16 emitters staggered equally around the perimeter of the catom.

Cost is Critical
Critical for Intel and claytronic applications is being able to make a lot of catoms at very low cost and the cost has to fall as the size of catoms falls. Displacement of current displays, computers, TVs and cellphones with claytronics will require that the useful amount of Claytronics cost $100-5000. The $5000 figure is for Claytronics displacing high end electronics like big screen televisions.

Millimeter size catoms: To fill a one foot cube (30cm X 30 cm X 30 cm), you would need 27 million catoms.

Hundred Micron size catoms: To fill a one foot cube (30cm X 30 cm X 30 cm), you would need 27 billion catoms.

Ten Micron size catoms: To fill a one foot cube (30cm X 30 cm X 30 cm), you would need 27 trillion catoms.

Micron size catoms: To fill a one foot cube (30cm X 30 cm X 30 cm), you would need 27,000 trillion catoms.

27 billion transistors on one computer chip costs more than $1000 now. This price is falling all the time, but making 27,000 trillion micron catoms for less than $5000 would take a long time with current price progress.

However, one could either have claytronics create more hollow objects or have cheaper larger catoms in the inner part of objects and have a layers of finer grain catoms on the outside. Two to ten layers of higher resolution catoms would surround bigger and cheaper catoms. 90 billion micron catoms for each one foot square layer.

Besides cost, efficient energy usage is also important.



FURTHER READING
Claytronics - programmable grit.

Justin Rattner on claytronics and the singularity at the Intel Developers Conference.


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