A computer made entirely of sodium acetate, known as hot ice, solves mazes and other problems. It also occasionally hangs. If you've ever used a chemical hand warmer, you'll be familiar with sodium acetate. These bags of liquid are supersaturated solutions of sodium acetate that has supercooled to ambient temperature. Clicking a metal disc in the solution creates a nucleation center that causes the solution to rapidly crystallize, releasing heat. Heating the solid turns it back into a liquid, thereby recharging the hand warmer.
There's no end of fun to be had with these devices, and now Andrew Adamatzky from the University of the West of England in Bristol has added a new trick to the repertoire: Adamatzky has built a computer entirely out of sodium acetate.
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