The dawn of the memristor...

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by cmartinez, Mar 1, 2015.

  1. cmartinez

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 17, 2007
    3,560
    2,529
  2. WBahn

    Moderator

    Mar 31, 2012
    17,720
    4,788
    I'll believe it when I see it. I remember seeing the same claims when the memristor debuted over six years ago. I also recall the claims about how technology X was going to completely change everything in "the next few years" where X has been everything from ferroelectric crystals to nuclear fusion. The claims are always grand and the delivery is never as claimed.
     
    cmartinez likes this.
  3. cmartinez

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 17, 2007
    3,560
    2,529
    I'd say rather that the expectations are grand... On the other hand, when the transistor was invented more than 50 years ago, it hardly made any fuzz in the news and I don't think that anyone foresaw what was coming...
     
  4. WBahn

    Moderator

    Mar 31, 2012
    17,720
    4,788
    And it took it a lot more than "a few years" to have the kind of impact that it eventually had.

    Certainly lots of technological advancements have had major repercussions and have had major transformative impacts on society, but very few have done so "in a few years" (in fact, I can't think of any, though there probably are some). Cars, planes, telephones, radio, television, electric power, home refrigeration, the electric light, cell phones, the internet -- all of those had major impacts, but none of them did so in just "a few years", though I think it is fair to say that they each trundled along at a growing pace until they reached a point of exploding in the market and that, then, you can point to a period that spanned just "a few years" in which their influence was marked.
     
  5. cmartinez

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 17, 2007
    3,560
    2,529
    Good point... but I think that there really are a few exceptions to that "few years" objection of yours, especially in the field of medicine, please correct me if I'm wrong, but penicillin is among those few. It made an almost immediate impact. Also, the jet engine took very little time to be implemented after it was invented... but of course it was a war effort.
     
  6. nsaspook

    AAC Fanatic!

    Aug 27, 2009
    2,907
    2,165
    For the Memristor to top silicon it must do something much better and cheaper than can be emulated in the silicon infrastructure that we have invested in. What gets built in the future is less about direct science and what's possible. What gets made is what can be made for a profit with the manufacturing technology you have and can afford.

    The world of electronics will be stuck on silicon for a long time.
    https://www.ihs.com/articles/features/semiconductor.html
     
    Lundwall_Paul likes this.
  7. WBahn

    Moderator

    Mar 31, 2012
    17,720
    4,788
    I don't think either of these qualify as exceptions, but rather examples of exactly what I was referring to in which an invention or discovery took years and years to slowly reach a point where it attained some critical point and then exploded.

    Penicillin was discovered by Earnest Duchesne and used to successfully cure guinea pigs of typhoid fever in 1897, but his work was ignored by the Pasteur Institute. Fleming, who is generally credited with it's discovery, did not do so until 1928 (and even then did it by accident, whereas the earlier work was anything but an accident). The first human treated with the drug was in 1941 (who died, but probably because the drug ran out). As is often the case, the key to large scale influences of a discovery or invention is not the science, but the engineering to scale that discovery or invention. In mid-1942 there was only enough of the drug to treat a dozen or so patients, but due to the money and pressure of the war effort, the production hurdles were overcome (thanks to a rotting cantaloupe) and just two years later over half a trillion units a year were being produced.

    Likewise, the jet engine most definitely was NOT an exception to this rule. The jet engine, in it's broadest scope, dates back to nearly the time of Christ. But even if we restrict the discussion to air-breathing gas turbines, that patent was granted to John Barber (of England) in 1791, early in George Washington's first term as president of the United States, though it took more than a century before Elling made the first self-sustaining operating gas-turbine in 1903. Once again, it was practical engineering hurdles that prevented it from taking off at that point. Frank Whittle filed for his initial patent in 1930 and had his first engine running in 1937. Germany flew the first jet-powered aircraft in the summer of 1939, nearly two years before Pearl Harbor and even Britain's first jet-powered aircraft flew before the U.S. entered the war. Now, after the war things reached that critical point I was referring to, and over the span of a decade (still more than the roughly three to five years that "a few years" would generally imply) there was a major transformation as nearly all combat aircraft transitioned from propeller driven to jet propelled and similar transformations swept through the commercial aviation world on just a slightly slower pace.
     
  8. cmartinez

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 17, 2007
    3,560
    2,529
    Alright, I'll grant you all those arguments... it's clear that your knowledge of the history of science and engineering surpasses mine... but let me throw one last ball at you: the atomic bomb.
    Please don't get started on the history of quantum physics dating back to the late 19th century... my observation regarding the atomic bomb starts on its very early inception (conception?) during WWII... unless of course, the subject had already been discussed much earlier, probably in the 1920's, back when the atomic theory was furiously being researched and worked upon...
     
  9. GopherT

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 23, 2012
    6,006
    3,763
    It was discussed as soon as Einstein said E=mc2
     
  10. WBahn

    Moderator

    Mar 31, 2012
    17,720
    4,788
    It had been discussed and actively worked on much earlier. It was a broadly enough understood concept that H.G. Wells used it as a device in a science fiction story even before WW I and Winston Churchill speculated on its implications for warfare in 1924. It was far enough along, conceptually, that Einstein and many other scientists push Roosevelt to make it a priority clear back in 1939. So once again a long and slow road of development reach a critical mass (no pun intended) that then exploded (again, no pun intended), but, as with many things, that time-scale was significantly compressed because of wartime priorities and pressures.
     
  11. cmartinez

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 17, 2007
    3,560
    2,529
    Mhhh.... sorry... but I just can't give up and let go of this so easily. So... if you're game, how about this one?:
    Liquid fuel rocketry, both developed almost simultaneously by Goddard and Von Braun (though I tend to give more credit to Von Braun, no offense)

    Was there anyone else doing research on that before them?
     
  12. WBahn

    Moderator

    Mar 31, 2012
    17,720
    4,788
    Why are you limiting it to liquid-fueled rocketry? Rockets had been being used in warfare for centuries. Leaving the Chinese out of it altogether, there were more rocketeers (or missilemen) at the Siege of Orleans (of Joan of Arc fame) than there were longbowmen. The words "by the rockets red glare" in the U.S. national anthem refer to Congreve rockets fired at Fort McHenry in 1813 from beyond the range of the fort's cannons. Hale rockets were used in the Civil War, particularly at the beginning when they, too, had range advantages over the Union's field guns.

    I'm not too sure how you can claim that liquid-fueled rockets were developed almost simultaneously by Goddard and Braun given that Goddard's first liquid fueled flight took place in 1926 when Braun was but 14 years old. The Germans in general and Braun in particular followed Goddard's work very closely and utilized much of it in their programs, including the V-2. Even Braun himself said that he used Goddard's work, obtained from the numerous plans available in pre-war journals, as part of his A-series rockets (the A-4 would be renamed the V-2), and Goddard confirmed in 1944 that many of the parts in the V-2 were of his design.
     
    cmartinez likes this.
  13. cmartinez

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 17, 2007
    3,560
    2,529
    Because I'm very much aware of the Chinese example regarding the use of gunpowder for fireworks and the like, I also knew about the examples you mentioned on the Civil War, and at Fort McHenry's... though I have to admit that little snippet about Joan d'Arc is new to me... interesting fact thanks...
    I have to go and tend some other things, but I'll be more than happy to continue this very interesting discussion tomorrow... have a good one, y'all
     
  14. cmartinez

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 17, 2007
    3,560
    2,529
    Alright, I'm back... (yes, I am that stubborn :rolleyes:)

    So let's make the question (challenge?) clear:
    You want me to find an example of an invention or discovery that made a public impact in a relatively short time after its conception. Is that correct?

    But before I proceed, I want to clarify that everything is connected. It is impossible to come up with an entirely new idea without building on previous concepts and ideas. For example, I don't think that the transistor would've ever been invented without the prior development of the vacuum tube, since people would've never known what to look for and what properties they'd want from it. And in that example it took years of research and development and trial and error, and then after that more than a decade to reach the market because the infrastructure for its production needed to be built first. So no, the transistor is not the example I'm proposing.... I'm just saying that if I come up with something, you gotta give me a break and don't start your argumentation by saying something like "look, Martinez, before that happened, it took many years for fire to be mastered by the primitive caveman" ...
    So please don't answer "balloon" when I say "airplane" ...
    Are we on?
     
  15. wayneh

    Expert

    Sep 9, 2010
    12,100
    3,034
    Let's omit software from the challenge? Social media came quickly and achieved widespread popularity, as did e-mail before that, but I don't put those in the same category as something based on a fundamental discovery.

    Adoption of the CD, to replace analog audio was awfully fast following the development of laser-cut data storage. I remember from a marketing class that the adoption of CDs was one of the fastest diffusion-of-innovations that has ever been seen.
     
  16. cmartinez

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 17, 2007
    3,560
    2,529
    Ahhh... now we're being restricted to fundamental discoveries? Are you talking about science, or technology? Or can we include both?
    BTW, I agree that we should leave software out of the discussion.
     
  17. wayneh

    Expert

    Sep 9, 2010
    12,100
    3,034
    1. It's not my thread, and 2. It is straying away from the title topic. So I'm not one to impose any restrictions. ;)
     
  18. cmartinez

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 17, 2007
    3,560
    2,529
    No objections about those two points from my side... and since I'm the OP, there is no such thing as highjacking one's own thread, is it???
     
  19. wayneh

    Expert

    Sep 9, 2010
    12,100
    3,034
    Sort of back on topic, the idea of using multi-state memory for computing is not new. There's been talk of using DNA for this application.
     
  20. alfacliff

    Well-Known Member

    Dec 13, 2013
    2,449
    428
    memory element that remembers its last state. ant that is going to replace the current technology? can it amplify? can it handle large amounts of power? the first computer I worked on had core memory, it also remembered its data with the power off. it was slow, and required a lot of different power supplies but it was developed over time.from core memory in juke boxes to mat memory ( a later version of core memory)
    I will wait and see how it turns out. a lot of technological "breakthroughs" are now in museums, although a great idea at the time.
     
Loading...