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These 3 Electroceuticals Could Help You Heal Faster

One day, electric bandages and biodegradable electronic implants could ward off infections and speed recovery

4 min read
Photo: Northwestern University
Photo: Northwestern University

Electricity helps the heart beat, the muscles twitch, and the body communicate with the brain. Now scientists are increasingly using electricity to promote healing. Unlike previous inventions that were often quite bulky, new “electroceutical” devices are easier to wear, and some can even biodegrade inside the body. Here are a few designs that could someday aid patients in recovery.

  1. /image/MzIxMTI2MA.jpegOn Your Nerves: This implant stimulates peripheral nerves for up to two weeks before it breaks down and is absorbed by the body.Photo: Northwestern University

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Two Startups Are Bringing Fiber to the Processor

Avicena’s blue microLEDs are the dark horse in a race with Ayar Labs’ laser-based system

5 min read
Diffuse blue light shines from a patterned surface through a ring. A blue cable leads away from it.

Avicena’s microLED chiplets could one day link all the CPUs in a computer cluster together.

Avicena

If a CPU in Seoul sends a byte of data to a processor in Prague, the information covers most of the distance as light, zipping along with no resistance. But put both those processors on the same motherboard, and they’ll need to communicate over energy-sapping copper, which slow the communication speeds possible within computers. Two Silicon Valley startups, Avicena and Ayar Labs, are doing something about that longstanding limit. If they succeed in their attempts to finally bring optical fiber all the way to the processor, it might not just accelerate computing—it might also remake it.

Both companies are developing fiber-connected chiplets, small chips meant to share a high-bandwidth connection with CPUs and other data-hungry silicon in a shared package. They are each ramping up production in 2023, though it may be a couple of years before we see a computer on the market with either product.

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