Organic and inorganic materials are so far apart that putting them together will always be a challenge. Most of the inorganic materials including semiconductor are toxic so unless we find a way to get around this problem i do not think there will be much progress.
@Frank Eory $125,000 per year per university...isn't going to buy a whole lot of research
So true, however, SRC made clear to me that this was just seed funding--basically to get the researchers to prove-the-concept then put together some serious proposals that SRC plans to pitch to NSF and other deep-pocket sources for serious funding of particular projects.
SRC itself is only interested in devleoping the synthetic biology to create the hybrid bio-semconductors, the technology for which it will then pass along to its member companies, which include IBM, Intel, Texas Instruments, Global Foundries and other chip makers. It will be up to those companies to target applications. IBM for one already has a complete cat's brain in simulation on one of its supercomputers, so doing an ant should be a breeze (he said tongue in cheek :) Seriously, though, robotic navigation with bio-semis will definitely be a goal of those who apply this technology--I'll guess by the end of the decade.
Living electronics within a decade is certainly ambitious. If there is any chance at all of meeting that goal, other funding sources had better pony up. $2.25M over 3 years, split between 6 universities? Assuming it's equally divided, that's only $125,000 per year per university. That isn't going to buy a whole lot of research.
Time between announcements and market roll out is getting shorter and shorter. Before there is nothing left to invent as some have said centuries ago. I would like to see an initiative that can [back-up] our biological memories in a phase state from all angles of perception.an image that is so precise that a quantum of time would be all that is required to capture our most important 20 terabytes of ourselves.