Scientists at the University of Washington have created transistors that use protons, unlike the electron-based version most modern technology is built with. This novel innovation is progress toward a machine that would ultimately be able to communicate compatible electrical signals directly to living organisms, which could be experienced as physical sensation. Such a device could in theory allow computer-generated artificial sensory information to be felt as though it were real, in a way that would be indistinguishable from reality.
Current technology uses negatively charged electrons to send signals, but living organisms rely on positively charged ions (protons) to transmit neural messages. The caveat is that this prototype is made largely of silicon and could not be used in a human body. The most likely applications in the near future for this invention would be for directly sensing cells in a laboratory. The longer term goal is to create bio-compatible cellular sensory devices capable of monitoring microscopic biological processes in real time. Read the full article.