Welcome to the Friday Tech Roundup! Contained herein is a weekly dose of some of the best tech news from across the internet, rounded up for your edification and entertainment. Read on for all the details of how researchers at MIT have created genetic circuits which function as Boolean logic gates, how we’re expecting a 7nm process technology as soon as 2017, and how Gamestop feels about the idea of consoles that block used game sales.
Your body is a temple, and could one day be a computer
Synthetic biologists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, have developed a set of simple genetic circuits which function similarly to the Boolean AND, OR, and NAND logic gates that form the basis of all modern complex computing algorithms.
James Collins, a synthetic biologist of the Boston University in Massachusetts and the inventor of the genetic ‘toggle switch’ that makes all of this research possible, told nature.com that “these developments will more readily enable one to create programmable cells with decision-making capabilities for a variety of applications.”
Timothy Lu, one of the synthetic biologists at MIT responsible for the study, says that the approach could be useful in biotechnology. Manufacturers could grow cell cultures that could permanently start the production of a drug, while others could halt production when an arbitrary threshold has been reached.
32 nanometre process technology? Pshaw. 7nm could be here as early as 2017
GlobalFoundries, the world’s second-largest independent semiconductor foundry, announced their long term plans at the Common Platform Technology Forum earlier this month, including their goal of developing incomprehensibly small 7 nanometre process technology by 2017, reports Xbit Labs.
Current generation Core i7 processors make use of a 32nm process, which is widely considered to be an efficient platform for today’s computing requirements. GlobalFoundries plans to initiate production using 20nm process technology in 2013, which will then be used to enable production of hybrid 14nm/20nm process technology in 2014. This will lead the way to hybrid 10nm/14nm process tech in 2015, all in an effort to make it to 7nm, a process so small it has me struggling to find a word that will describe it more accurately than “miniscule”.
Gabe Newell hitches Valve’s cart to PC-to-TV streaming
During his Day 2 keynote at the DICE 2013 summit, Gabe Newell made it quite clear that he believes that PC-to-TV streaming will be the standard method for playing high-spec PC games in our living rooms, and will arrive in the form of three tiers.
According to Newell, the “good” tier would initially involve a traditional PC, dedicated to in-home streaming. It would only need to be powerful enough to stream video to any HDTV on your network, and should only initially cost around $100. This price would eventually drop to zero as manufacturers begin to build the capability directly into HDTVs.
The middle, or “better” tier, would take the form of a small, low-powered PC connected to your TV, which seems to most closely resemble the Steam Box that Valve and Xi3 announced in January. Newell went on to note that Apple already have a significant foothold in this tier, due to their “huge unit advantage,” and that “Apple has a much more natural progression into the living room with fundamentally industry-to-industry competitive advantages that I think are more threatening to the PC moving into the living room than anything that would be happening on the console side.”
Finally, Newell described the “best” tier, a more traditional scenario of a standalone gaming desktop that users can build and upgrade as they wish. He believes this to be the most scalable solution, noting that “if you want a $4000 living room box, I’m sure there are lots of PC vendors who are going to send that to you.”
Apple and Samsung: Enemies with benefits
Apple CEO Tim Cook was initially opposed to suing Samsung for patent infringement as part of Steve Jobs’ “thermo-nuclear war” approach to keeping clones off the market, reports Reuters. Citing the role that Samsung plays in providing critical components of both the iPhone and iPad, Cook opposed Jobs in his litigious stance against the manufacturer of the ever-increasingly popular Galaxy series of Android-based smartphones. Analysts report that Apple bought some $8 billion worth of parts from Samsung in 2012, so it would be safe to assume that an all-out war between the two would make Cook nervous.
Despite the fact that Cook would “highly prefer to settle,” he has remained steadfast in his obligation to see the lawsuits through to completion, and has stated that he believes that Apple’s competitors need to “invent their own stuff.”
According to GameStop, 60% of customers won’t buy a new console that blocks used games
GameStop CFO Rob Lloyd recently defended the used game trade during the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference (as reported by VG247), stating that “Consumers want the ability to play pre-owned games, they want portability in their games; they want to play physical games. And to not have those things would be a substantial reason for them not to purchase a new console.”
Lloyd made reference to research conducted by GameStop which backs up his claims, “I think it was 60% of customers who said they wouldn’t buy a new console [if it blocks used games],” he said. It should be noted that it is unclear exactly how this research was conducted, but it is likely that the results come from self-selected customers filling out an online questionnaire.
Forbes’ reported that nearly 40% of their price estimate (based on their third fiscal quarter 2012 earnings report) for GameStop was attributed to used game sales.