Moore's law of transistor scaling, the exponential increase in the number of complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) transistors per unit area, continues unabated; however, computer clock speeds have remained frozen since 2003. The development of a new digital switch, the piezoelectronic transistor (PET), is designed to circumvent the speed and power limitations of the CMOS transistor. The PET operates on a novel principle: an electrical input is transduced into an acoustic pulse by a piezoelectric element which, in turn, is used to drive a continuous insulator-to-metal transition in a piezoresistive element, thus switching on the device. Performance is enabled by the use of key high response materials, a relaxor piezoelectric, and a rare-earth chalcogenide piezoresistor. Theory and simulation predict, using bulk material properties, that PETs can operate at one-tenth the present voltage of CMOS technology and consuming 100 times less power while running at multi-GHz clock speeds. A program to fabricate prototype PET devices is under way.© 2012 Materials Research Society.