Research advances by Dr. Gershenfeld and his students and colleagues working at the boundary between physical science and computer science include: one of the first complete quantum computations, using nuclear spins in molecules; microfluidic bubble logic, with bits that transport materials as well as information; physical one-way cryptographic functions , implemented by mesoscopic light scattering; noise-locked loops that entrain on codes, which led to analog logic integrated circuits that use continuous device dynamics to solve digital problems; asynchronous logic automata to align hardware with software; Internet 0 for interdevice internetworking; microslot probes for ultra-small-sample structural studies; integrated 6-axis inertial measurement based on the dynamics of trapped particles; charge source tomography for electric field imaging and intrabody signaling; electropermanent actuators for high torque at low RPM with static holding; and additive assembly of functional digital materials that can be used in the highest modulus ultralight structures.
He is the originator of the growing global network of field fab labs that provide widespread access to prototype tools for personal fabrication, and directs the Fab Academy, the associated program for distributed research and education in the principles and practices of digital fabrication.
He's spoken for events including TED (and another), the National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Academy, the National Science Foundation, the White House, the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, the Library of Congress, the World Economic Forum, the World Science Festival, the Science & Entertainment Exchange, CERN, Google, IBM, EDUCAUSE, ACADIA, the ACM/IEEE Conference on Supercomputing, IEDM, Etech, APMM, Solid, and Maker Faire.
His movie credits include Minority Report and Big Hero 6.
He's played the bassoon, ski patrolled and raced, and swam competitively.