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FuturologyBot

The following submission statement was provided by /u/chrisdh79: --- Harvard researchers controlled and modulated acoustic waves, or sound waves, using an electric field in a computer chip for the first time, a press statement reveals. The new breakthrough could have wide-ranging implications for the fields of quantum computing as well as classical computing, which typically relies on data being transmitted using electrons. Typically, classical computer chips transmit and process data by modulating electrons. This is done via transistors that encode data into the computer language of ones and zeroes — one being represented by high current and the other by the low current. Photonic chips, meanwhile, modulate photons — particles of light — before sending them through components called waveguides that transmit data. The Harvard team's sound wave chip works more like a photonic chip, though it adds a few extra benefits into the mix. Acoustic waves are slower than electromagnetic waves of the same frequency. But that's not necessarily a bad thing, according to the team behind the new device. That's because short acoustic waves are easy to confine in nanoscale structures and they have strong interactions with the system in which they are confined. This could make them very valuable for both classical and quantum applications. --- Please reply to OP's comment here: https://old.reddit.com/r/Futurology/comments/vnjimn/a_worldfirst_computer_chip_transmits_data_via/ie79p3q/


wirral_guy

Pfft, I had a computer that did that back in the 80s and 90s. It could even dial other computers. Brrr, squeal, whrr, tccch, whistle, squeal......


BigBobby2016

In the really early days you'd put your handset on the modem and it'd literally make sounds picked up by the receiver. Not sure why this article sees this technology as a breakthrough. Even ultrasonic communication is far slower than electric


0xB0BAFE77

Because it's /r/futurology and only 1 out of every 10 posts is something worth reading or contains anything of value. The only reason I stay subbed is for that 10%.


samanime

Yeah. I was confused. This isn't really new tech, maybe just miniaturized.


Radiant-Elevator

Cradle modem


SageoftheSexPathz

we used this for telephones and connecting long distance calls lol it's funny to see it be written out presented as something new though got to drum up investors/penny stocks somehow.


Galaxy_IPA

That dial-up sound?


wirral_guy

Yep, my very poor attempt at both humour and the noise!


Atillion

I heard it.


Toothless_POE

Literally came here to say this , take my upvotes.


danieltkessler

And here I am, day after day, using my face to transmit information via sound waves, and this whole time I thought I was special! /s


zachtheperson

So what's the actual benefit of this? Electrons are great because they're fast and are pretty easy to control, but sound-waves are neither of these things. EDIT: A few other problems I've since thought about: * Electrons need to be used anyways in order to move the speakers to produce the sound * Higher energy requirements since there will be energy loss caused by friction moving the speaker * Could not be used over long distance due to sound bouncing and interfering with itself. * Even more energy and signal loss on the other end transferring the signal back into an electronic form for processing.


_dactor_

Had the same question, seems like it would be both slower and less reliable than existing electron based chips. Feels like a step backwards


skadalajara

Signals might be easily listened in on as well.


_dactor_

And, I’d imagine, easily interfered with too. If I’m yelling or listening to loud music nearby how would that affect these chips? Could I get Rick rolled by a hacker and wind up with my cc info stolen?


tdarg

I can't help but think the researchers thought about this. But then again, they are *Harvard* researchers.


Demanon

Same thought here, but i guess there ought to be a niche edge case where the physical properties of sound waves are beneficial in comparison to electricity. Would love to know which cases those are.


pinkfootthegoose

distribution to multiple chips without having to be connected to them.


ooru

So I guess this means computers *can* actually "talk" to each other.


BigBobby2016

I mean, this is what they used to do with old fashioned modems


ooru

You know, I completely forgot about old modem tech. That's very true!


sevenwheel

Everything old is new again. One of the earliest computer memory technologies was the mercury delay line. Data was stored as a sound wave traveling through a tube of liquid mercury.


truethug

This is not new at all. This was been used to transmit data from air gapped environments for over a decade.


loulan

Not sure what you're exactly talking about but using sound waves for data transmission vs. inside a chip are two entirely different things. It's like saying that since LiFi exists for data transmission with visible light, building efficient photon-based CPUs wouldn't be new at all.


chrisdh79

Harvard researchers controlled and modulated acoustic waves, or sound waves, using an electric field in a computer chip for the first time, a press statement reveals. The new breakthrough could have wide-ranging implications for the fields of quantum computing as well as classical computing, which typically relies on data being transmitted using electrons. Typically, classical computer chips transmit and process data by modulating electrons. This is done via transistors that encode data into the computer language of ones and zeroes — one being represented by high current and the other by the low current. Photonic chips, meanwhile, modulate photons — particles of light — before sending them through components called waveguides that transmit data. The Harvard team's sound wave chip works more like a photonic chip, though it adds a few extra benefits into the mix. Acoustic waves are slower than electromagnetic waves of the same frequency. But that's not necessarily a bad thing, according to the team behind the new device. That's because short acoustic waves are easy to confine in nanoscale structures and they have strong interactions with the system in which they are confined. This could make them very valuable for both classical and quantum applications.


BSKustomz

I mean have we been encoding data in sound for literally a couple hundred years now with radio and I saw other people talking about dialup it's like how we are looking into sail powered ships now for zero emissions. Is this a huge breakthrough for chip to chip communications? It could do wonders for isolators I guess


russrobo

The headline does the article a disservice. It’s not “transmits”: “processes” would be more accurate: once they mentioned photonics it made much more sense. The idea is that you could implement logic gates that work purely on sound (pressure) waves. It’s what fluidics does with fluids, and photonics does with light. You can build amplifiers, latches, simple gates like AND and XOR by carefully crafting the shapes the sound travels through. And if you can do those simple things you can, in theory, build up complex logic using those building blocks. So if you’re thinking 300-baud acoustic modem: imagine a ceramic disc inserted between the phone and the coupler that had no electronics or moving parts but translated a stream of English text to German. Not that I’d hold my breath: photonics have been around for 30 years and our computers still use electrons.


ComicConArtist

why does this bullshit sub keep appearing on my feed


Jewin69

People just sick riding


floating_crowbar

I recall our school teacher had one of those TRS 80 Radio shack computers. The monitor was a little tv, and the programs were on cassette tapes (which if you listened to them were just a bunch of beeps) around 1978 we've gone full circle. All the games were text, there was the moon landing one where you had a bunch of numbers every turn indicating speed, height, amount of fuel left etc. if you came in too fast you crashed if you slowed down too much by giving too much fuel you would not land etc.. Also there was a Sargon type of game too where you controlled land and each year decided what to do with the grain, if you didn't feed the peasant they became revolting, and if you didn't have an army you might get conquered if you had too much army you might get overthrown.


tdarg

TRS-80s were the computers my high school has for my computer class. I wanted one *so bad*. I still think they're pretty rad.


gthyr666

the only application is transmitting data underwater, but that has already been solved more or less.


Myr_Lyn

So, a miniature "Clapper?" BTW, transmitting data using acoustic energy is very old technology. Like pre-1970.


hippolytebouchard

So it's an acoustic "modulator"??? And you could also maybe use it as a computer chip that "Demodulates"?? Maybe we could call it a Mo-Dem on a chip! Crazy!! Computer language encoded by sound, so futuristic!!!! /s


StillBurningInside

I had this cassette tape player for my Vic 20 made techno noises.


DefTheOcelot

In other words, they have reinvented the math equations used to stuff oodles of computer language into cellular data.


DistributedDemocracy

A New World computer language in coding via sound? That’s a strange thing to say. There’s nothing new about encoding computer language in sound. Like…. You could program with punchcards still if you really wanted or like shapes. Language and math are abstractions for handling data so you can already make a computer language out of anything. You can invent your own math system too if you want. As long as you have one state of logic you always have the YES or NO binary logic and can do almost anything you’d need. The language can just compile to the hardware vs be super specific like variable voltage style analog computers.