Scot boffins solve memory problems with a wee mechanical arm

Scottish boffins have worked out a way of improving computer memory using a device that uses a tiny mechanical arm to translate data into electrical signals.

According to Nature Communications, which we get for the tricky bat’s squeak translation crossword, the University of Edinburgh worked out a way of using carbon nanotubes to store memory.

Although the use of nanotubes for memory storage had already been developed, a workable system had run aground because they were slower than an asthmatic turtle on its way to a turtle soup convention carrying a heavy load of shopping.

The Scots used a mechanical arm to charge an electrode and created a memory device which operates faster than conventional memory devices. The arm acts like a mechanical switch to charge and discharge without having a voltage constantly applied to the device.

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh worked with the Konkuk University and Seoul National University, in Korea, on the project.

Professor Eleanor Campbell, from the University of Edinburgh’s school of chemistry, who took part in the study, said it was a jolly clever way of designing memory storage devices.

If you mix mechanics with the benefits of nanotechnology you get a superior speed and energy efficiency compared with existing devices.

It is not clear if the chips can be manufactured on an industrial scale, and research is continuing with colleagues in Korea on further increasing the operating speed of the device.