Memristors were conceptualized in 1971 but the first one was only built 37 years later, in 2008.
A scanning electron microscope view of memristors.
Unlike transistors, memristors don't require a silicon layer and therefore don't suffer from the limitations of current microchip manufacturing technology.
On top of a flow of electrons, like transistors, memristors also use ions to store data.
Researchers at ETH in Zurich are working with IBM to create a memristor computer within two years.
Memristor chips could one day be integrated in windows, textiles or even coffee cups.
Lower power consumption, with a faster speed, and with a higher volume density of information are among the advantages of the technology.
The technology could lead to computers that operate in a way reminiscent of the synapses in our brains.
A wafer of traditional computer chips containing transistors.