You’ve heard of liquid cooled computers. Often times these are the ultra tricked-out gaming rigs that run multiple of the latest video cards, the fastest CPUs (overclocked), and an enormous power supply to ensure everything receives its required amount of juice. But odds are that you haven’t heard of a computer made at least partially from liquid. Neither had John Campbell, a senior political science major at Texas Christian University, until he created the first one in 2005.
The first such model was created inside a deep freezer stuffed with tanks of gels and liquids as well as a myriad of actual computer parts. Campbell, working largely alone, used parts from roughly ten to fifteen old computers. Combined with materials costs for liquids, he estimates that the cost of parts was close to $500 for the first iteration of the liquid computer. Campbell explains that his machine attains a mild state of super fluidity, relying on freezing cold temperatures in the liquids to help reduce friction and thus reduce the resistance of his computer’s actual wires. This in turn creates a greater flow of electricity and thus higher efficiency.
Campbell claims that his design could speed up the super computers of the world, such as the ones used in medical research: “…such as those that take three years to pick out an aspect of the human genome.” He goes on to tout that his system could potentially double or triple the speed of emerging computers going into the future. Says Campbell, “Everything will be twice as fast and faster for the global economy.”
Campbell does realize the potential for his technology and also realizes that it will only take off if he can market it appropriately. That doesn’t sound like much of a problem. Reading comments from friends, professors, and coworkers, one comes away with the distinct impression that John Campbell is one to get things done. He currently has a list of approximately twenty seven inventions to patent, including his liquid computer. He has designed marketing plans before, says one of his professors, who runs a team currently using one of John’s plans in a national marketing contest – in which the team is currently in eighth place out of six hundred universities taking part in the contest.
John Campbell’s technology certainly has promise. Who wouldn’t be worried, however, of the notion that our computers in the future will be the size of deep freezers normally banished to the deepest recesses of the basement or the garage? Not to fear, since his initial design, Campbell, now working with a team of five others, has reduced the size of the design to that of a modern day desktop computer.