An astonishing look at the cutting edge where digital intelligence is woven into everything we touch. Neil Gershenfeld finds computers on desks painfully passe. And he is miles ahead of anybody else in freeing the good stuff of digital ...
tal technology--the electronic "bits"--from the clunky boxes--the "atoms"--that now constrain them. How about a traditional book, printed on paper and pleasant to read in bed, but with the mutability of a screen display? Pop in one microchip and your book is Sue Grafton. Pop in another, the electronic ink reconfigures, and it's Thomas Pynchon. This is the kind of technology Gershenfeld has up and running in his lab today, along with the means for electronic cash, musical keyboards woven into blue-jean jackets, the "Personal Fabricator" that can organize digitized atoms into anything you want, and an electronic cello he developed with Yo Yo Ma. As Gershenfeld describes his work, he offers profound insights into the world of computation vis-a-vis the structure of matter, offering the prospect of quantum computers and liquid chips, as well as a whole new model of both education and research based on his Things That Think consortium.