Friday 10 September 2010

Steampunk chip takes the heat

Steampunk chip takes the heat

From the New Scientist magazine comes news which proves that the old ways are sometimes still the best. Who would have thought that 150-year-old technology, which has formed the basis for a whole modern (albeit now mainly aesthetic) movement, should end up having a practical use in something as high-end as US Defence projects?

It just goes to show that sometimes modern electronics have their limits and it falls to good old-fashioned mechanical constructions to take the strains which leave more highly-advanced but often fragile devices broken and burnt out. So to sum up: modern technology (above) = rubbish; Victorian technology (below) = the future! Huzzah!

Seriously though, it's heartening to see today's scientists still looking to the technologies of the past and adapting them for use in the present, rather than simply disregarding them. Progress is sometimes not just about inventing the next new thing but also looking to previous designs and breakthroughs to see if they can be adapted or reused to help further existing advancements. The use of such tried and tested designs in these new developments also allows us to follow a timeline of modern technology, from Charles Babbage's original Difference Engine to today's computer chips, and so appreciate the progress that has been made over the last century-and-a-half while still noting the inherent basic similarities between these old and new mechanisms.

1 comment:

  1. It is interesting to see conventional mechanical devices succeed where modern devices fail.

    We have a wind up gramophone, and I often think that should there be some terrible societal melt down, once all the electricity is off and the batteries are dead, or needed for more vital functions, then my wind up gramophone will be a much welcome source of entertainment. As will printed books over e book readers.


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