Prototype soft memory via North Carolina State University
“We’ve created a memory device with the physical properties of Jell-O,” said assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering Dr. Michael Dickey, at North Carolina State University. “Our memory device is soft and pliable, and functions extremely well in wet environments – similar to the human brain."
The prototype is made using an alloy of gallium and indium set in a water-based gel. This "mushy" memory has two states, one that conducts electricity and one that does not. The research team uses these two states to represent both binary conditions. Acting much like a Memristor, where current flows in opposite directions either increase or decrease the resistance. And when the current stops flowing, the Memristor retains the last value that was set.
With the soft memory from NC State, when a positive charge is applied to the electrodes at either side of the gel block, a oxidized skin makes the device resistive to current flow (a binary 0). When a negative charge is applied the oxidization disappears and allows current to flow freely (a binary 1). At the moment, the memory can store very little data. The team in confident that the gel can have increased memory capacity and still remain favorable in hostile wet environments.
Read more about the soft memory in the team's paper "Towards All-Soft Matter Circuits: Prototypes of Quasi-Liquid Devices with Memristor Characteristics."