Normally computers and water droplets make a devastating combo, but in this case, engineers have developed a computer that actually requires water droplets to operate. The engineers, led by Stanford's Manu Prakash, have been working on the project for almost a decade.

"We already have digital computers to process information. Our goal is not to compete with electronic computers or to operate word processors on this," Prakash said. "Our goal is to build a completely new class of computers that can precisely control and manipulate physical matter. Imagine if when you run a set of computations that not only information is processed but physical matter is algorithmically manipulated as well. We have just made this possible at the mesoscale."

Prakash says the most immediate application of the technology could involve using it as a chemistry and biology lab, with each droplet carrying chemicals dictated by the computer.

Cover image: Youtube