back to article Boffins claim to create the world's first wooden transistor

Talk about branching out: Swedish researchers have built what they claim is the world's first wooden transistor. In a recent paper [PDF], researchers from Sweden's Linköping University and the KTH Royal Institute of Technology say they've managed to build a working gate transistor shaped like a "T" from three pieces of balsa …

  1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Truly we live in an age of wonders

    And April First was last month!

  2. spold Silver badge


    ..'nuff said

    1. Korev Silver badge

      Re: Woodworm

      But can it have SAP software?

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Woodworm

        And what;s the root password?

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Woodworm

        It'll be used to build wooden gates. And for geofencing.

    2. spold Silver badge

      Re: Woodworm

      ...I'm also guessing we are getting to generations that do not know what a woodworm is <sigh>. It ate your granny's drawers. (Which likely also goes over their heads - particularly outside the UK). :-)

  3. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge


    They get it scaled down to build a PC.......






    Wait for it! Wait for it! /Sgt Major Williams






    We can Log On.

  4. cornetman Silver badge

    I think they are barking up the wrong tree.

    1. Trigonoceps occipitalis

      I don't beleaf it!

  5. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

    How "Green" is it to Make in Large Quantities?

    Wooden you like to use this for something useful?

    Seriously, depending on the chemicals and chemical processes needed, this may or may not be more harmful to the environment to produce than current "standard" transistors.

  6. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

    Complements A&A's Wet String ADSL.

  7. Rich 2 Silver badge


    I went for an interview at Nokia in Linköping many years ago. It was the most desolate place I’ve ever been to. I remember the taxi ride from the airport (think Postman Pat kind of scale) to the Nokia office. At one point, I wondered if I was going to be murdered as we travelled along an utterly empty road into what seemed boundless wilderness; just endless pine forests and grasslands. Eventually the Nokia office appeared in the middle of bugger-all anywhere. And I remember thinking the inside of it was just like an Ikea showroom :-)

    Years later, some Swedish colleagues tried to convince me that Linköping was actually a really buzzing place. Clearly my taxi driver managed to avoid all the sights and fun!

    And no, I didn’t get the job but I wouldn’t have accepted it anyway - just too isolated for me.

    1. FrogsAndChips Silver badge

      Re: Linköping

      Visited the university on a school trip 2 dozen years ago, very nice campus, very pretty girls.

    2. Elongated Muskrat

      Re: Linköping

      If you want a desolate taxi ride from the airport, might I suggest the one into Reykjavík from the airport at Keflavík. Most of what you'll be driving past will be mile upon mile of volcanic tephra, although you will at one point pass an Iceland store, which I believe is one of a handful actually in Iceland.

      Oh, and get the bus rather than a taxi, unless you're rolling in cash...

  8. AndrueC Silver badge

    Well wooden you know it? Someone has branched out and twigged how to do it. I imagine they've got to the root of the issues by now. If it doesn't work out though they'll probably have to leaf it alone.

    1. Sean o' bhaile na gleann

      "...leaf it alone".

      They might possible try calling Special Branch.

  9. monty75

    Kids playgrounds got there first. All the swings have had wooden chips installed under them for years.

  10. anothercynic Silver badge

    When you extract most of what makes wood wood (look up where the word 'lignin' comes from), and then replace it with some other material, is it still wood?

    1. Howard Sway Silver badge

      This is a chemistry based example of what philosophers call the paradox of the Ship of Theseus, or Trigger's Broom.

      Which were both also made of wood.

  11. FirstTangoInParis

    There must be an IKEA joke in here somewhere. Perhaps transistors embedded in furniture could be used to control or sense something, somehow.

    1. GrumpenKraut

      The instruction sheet on how to build a 64-bit CPU will be ... interesting.

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Surely the instruction sheet *is* the computer?

    2. spold Silver badge

      If it was IKEA it would need to come with an Assembler.

      1. CommonBloke

        Do you think he'd have a strong ARM doing the Assembly?

  12. The commentard formerly known as Mister_C

    I had a wooden computer once

    The keyboard was wooden

    The screen was wooden

    The motherboard was wooden

    The processor was wooden

    The memory was wooden

    The hard drive was wooden

    The operating system was wooden


    It wooden work

    <walks away singing "I talks to the trees, that's why they put me away">

    1. Scott 26

      Re: I had a wooden computer once

      thumbs up for the Famous Eccles reference

      1. The commentard formerly known as Mister_C

        Re: I had a wooden computer once

        Seemed more apt than Henry Crun saying "you can't get the wood, you know"

    2. Mast1

      Re: I had a wooden computer once

      Surely everyone knows that Steve Jobs got there first.....

  13. Korev Silver badge


    I wonder how easy it is to root?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Why? For what purpose wood you make a wooden transistor? It's not like there is a shortage of silicon. There's a shortage of engineers and they are making a wooden transistor wtf. Tell me it has nothing to do with the balsa it's just the chemical process that makes it interesting/useful? There has to be more to this??

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: ?

      Because you can.

      1. Mast1

        Re: ?

        Not because you can, but because you would.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: ?

      True, but very slow, AI? The sentient "world forest" of the future? Or maybe talking books (made from paper, natch)? Guided, intelligent growth of trees for making treehouses for our green cities of the future? Might need decent fire suppression in a warming world though.

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: ?

        I'm sorry, teacher, but a woodchuck chucked my homework away....

    3. Elongated Muskrat

      Re: ?

      And here we have it, the inevitable, "why do fundamental research" post.

      Fundamental science isn't about applications, it is entirely about providing a foundation for further research, and applications down the line.

      The whole purpose is to advance human knowledge, the usefulness of that knowledge is a value judgement.

      So what if there's a shortage of engineers, this isn't engineering. That argument is like saying I shouldn't work in software because there's a shortage of care home staff.

    4. Caver_Dave Silver badge

      Re: ?

      Because they had research funding and had to use it.

  15. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    It will hold more magic smoke than more other transistors.

  16. This post has been deleted by its author

  17. Winkypop Silver badge

    Make a great calculator

    I imagine it would handle logarithmic functions very easily.

    1. David 132 Silver badge

      Re: Make a great calculator

      And speculative execution, in the form of branch prediction.

    2. Mast1

      Re: Make a great calculator

      ... not just logarithms, but pseudo-random number generators.

      It can provide its own seed.

  18. IGotOut Silver badge

    It makes sense...

    When AI has wiped most of civilisation of the face of the Earth, we will need wooden processors to go with our sticks and stones we use for tool.

  19. Arthur the cat Silver badge

    By the look of it

    it will repel vampires as well. If only it could do the same for spammers.

  20. FBee

    I had a six-transistor AM Radio as a child

    Shirley you could build a wooden one with six of these?

    1. Crypto Monad Silver badge

      Re: I had a six-transistor AM Radio as a child

      Yes, as long as the station you're listening to broadcasts on a frequency of 0.2Hz or lower: in other words, the 1,500,000,000 meter band.

      Building the antenna will be fun. A quarter-wave stretching from the earth to the moon should be about right.

      1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

        Re: I had a six-transistor AM Radio as a child

        A quarter-wave stretching from the earth to the moon should be about right.

        An alpha release version.

  21. arachnoid2

    Natural PC

    A bit of gene editing and one could grow a 100% fibre system.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Natural PC

      ..which has a regular clock cycle? Fibre is good for making you regular :-)

  22. DJV Silver badge

    These boffins are obviously some sort of subversive splinter branch.

  23. mmonroe

    NAND gate

    Team it with a bit of pencil for a resistor and you could make a NAND gate. Or maybe a couple of razor blade/pencil diodes. It had been 50 years since I did NAND gates when I was doing my degree and the knowledge is a bit fuzzy.

  24. Nightkiller

    Just what GreenPeace ordered.

  25. PaulMarshall

    Given just the summary in this article it strikes me that the wood isn't important to the process other than as a scaffold.

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