Intel just released samples of its latest chip, the Penryn. It’s manufactured with a 45-nanometer process, and for those of you counting at home, 45 nanometers is about half the size of DNA and proteins.

While these new chips are not yet ready to be implanted in the body, nor sophisticated enough to detect unique proteins (such as those often associated with heart disease), Intel is making progress in this area. It’s even done some preliminary work with privately held nanotech firm Nanosys, linking disease-detecting nanowires to computer chips.

In the meantime, Intel is busily making progress toward Barrett’s goal of bringing the economics of the semiconductor industry to the health sciences.

Sounds like we’re moving toward an Andy Kessler world. You can hear our podcast interview with Kessler here. (Thanks to reader Chip Fussell for the link.)