The memristor

 Nimage 7991 Memristor

Purported to be the fourth major electronic component, HP is introducing the memristor –

The new component is called the “memristor” — a word blend of “memory” and “resistor”. The physical working model and the mathematical model of the component were presented side by side in a paper in the journal Nature, yesterday. Four researchers at the lab, led by R. Stanley Williams, presented the device which retains the history of information passed to it.

The device could make for computers that need no boot-up, never forget, use less power, and associate memories much like the human mind. Such possibilities were long considered the realm of science fiction. The realization of the device was 37 years in the making, and many had come to think it would never be created.

Will we be stocking these along with standard resistors and capacitors? Hrrmm, time will tell. – HP invents fabled memristor [Thanks, Kyle!]