IBM is working on a prototype of a new computer-brain chip that can reconfigure itself on the fly.

Business Week explains: "With this technology, a future Macintosh from Apple might rejigger the circuitry on its PowerPC chip and then run software written for Intel's microprocessors. Or an iPod music player could turn into a handheld computer - or detect an incoming call and convert itself into a cell phone."

The report notes that high-tech gurus expect the "morphing semiconductor" to spawn a new family of superchips capable of crunching a trillion calculations every second.