While many scientists have heard the call for self-healing electronics, their previous projects have usually had just a limited capacity to come back from the brink. Caltech has developed an integrated circuit that could take much more of a bruising. Its prototype power amplifier chip has a dedicated circuit and sensors that can change actuators in microseconds if there's damage, re-optimizing the connections on the spot. And the chip can take a lot of that damage -- 76 examples in a penny-sized cluster endured multiple laser strikes in tests (like the one above) while still ticking. The self-healing even helps while everything is in tip-top shape, as it can cut power use by watching for the usual hiccups in load and voltage. So long as Caltech can develop the technology beyond its currently expected niches of communication and imaging, many of our computing devices could eventually take a few bumps and scrapes on the inside, not just their rugged exteriors.
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