Stanford University

This could be the ugly future computer that will one day replace all gaming machines

This could be the ugly future computer that will one day replace all gaming machines

Researchers at Stanford University announced this week that they have built the first computer made entirely with carbon nanotube transistors.

The computer is still very basic, and has only demonstrated the capability for basic equations, but it's a proof of concept that demonstrates how to work around the shortcomings that have traditionally held back carbon nanotube computer theory in the past.

It's an important innovation because computers, even game consoles, generally run off of silicon-based transistors. That's a problem because silicon transistors can only be made so small before quantum effects start getting in the way of their work. In the computing world, smaller is better, and right now there's a limit on how good a silicon chip can get.

Carbon nanotube transistors can be made smaller, more efficient, and thus one day should be able to vastly out-perform those made from silicon.

“People have been talking about a new era of carbon nanotube electronics moving beyond silicon,” said Stanford professor Subhasish Mitra in a statement. “But there have been few demonstrations of complete digital systems using this exciting technology. Here is the proof.”

At this point you're not likely to see this type of computer running Skyrim, but after breakthroughs like this it may not be terribly long before this type of computer hits the market. Especially given the need to find new ways around the limitations of silicon.

A Stanford representative told Mashable that they hope to see commercially viable products hit the market in 10 to 12 years.