Computing with Sugar
Normally when one envisions a computer or calculator, an electronic device comes to mind. The ability to process information and perform options with it however is not limited to silicon transistors and copper wires. Researchers at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena have recently built a calculator that uses chemistry and sugar to arrive at solutions.
In electronic computers, transistors are used to build logic gates that represent Boolean operators like AND, OR, and NOT. The potential differences of the data coming in, is how the system determines what the output should be. In the researcher's sugar computer, this process is replicated using a fluorescent dye and a fluorescence quencher. If both a present, there will not be a fluorescence signal, which would be analogous to a 1 in binary. To get a 0, sugar can be added to the mix, as it will react with the quencher, preventing it from suppressing the dye.
To prove that it works, the researchers gave their sugar computer the calculation 10+15 to answer, which it did, after forty minutes. The researchers have no designs to compete with electronics, but instead demonstrate a chemical system that could be applied for medical diagnostics by directly performing logical functions on bodily fluids.