Whew, I should blog about my dreams
more often, considering the comments
a single dream generated. That was really quite ordinary by my standards. Since some readers, like Robin Sloan at Snarkmarket
, seem quite taken by the idea of nanofabric scarves, I thought I'd point out that the idea isn't completely crazy, and was probably prompted by some recent developments I've read about in material science.
In the October 22 issue of Science
*, a team from University of Manchester
and Chernogolovka, Russia announced their creation of small patches of Graphene, single atom thick fabric of planar carbon that's strong, flexible, and conductive. According to Physorg
they were able to make patches of this stuff that are about ten microns (or hundredths of millimeters) across, but they see no fundamental reason why they won't be able to make inches and inches of the stuff.
MIT has a whole research group
devoted to "photonic bandgap fibers" and fibers are the building block of fabric. On October 14 they wrote a letter to Nature (pdf
) describing "Metal-insulator-semiconductor optoelectronic fibers."** These fibers can detect light along their entire length. So if your local network broadcast pulses in the infrared, these fibers could act as both detectors and displays, while the graphene above could handle the computations to transform one to the other. Er, well, maybe. The dancing and the juggling is upto you.
*(The research report is called "Electronic Field Effect in Atomically Thin Carbon Films", but it's only available to subscribers. Somehow they built a transistor out of it, and transistors are the basis for digital electronics.)
**You can read more about the MIT fibers here