Scientists associated with Penn State and the US Air Force have designed a reconfigurable alternative to integrated circuits. The resulting device has remarkable characteristics.
The project has been shown in the pages temper natureThe post describes how these solutions can work in everyday life. Almost any material can act as an integrated circuit, being able to “think” about what is happening around. The team members also created a computer that could perform arithmetic operations under stress, including multiplying numbers and comparing their values.
As Ryan Hayward of the University of Colorado at Boulder explains, such devices wouldn’t be able to match classical computers in terms of speed or volume of problem-solving, but they could be useful in another way: creating soft robots that make decisions based on what they touch.
We have created the first example of an engineering material that can simultaneously sense, think and act on mechanical stresses without the need for additional circuitry to process such signals. The soft polymer material acts as a brain that can perceive digital chains of information that are then processed, producing new sequences of digital information that can control interactions.Rihanna Harn, lead author of the study, explains
Integrated circuits are the essential component for scalable signal and information processing. However, they had previously only been designed using silicon semiconductors. So it’s time for a change, and the conductive soft mechanical material contains reconfigurable circuits. When external stimuli appear, the input data is translated into electrical information, which is then processed to create the output signals.
This smart material can be used to create different devices
According to Harn, the engineered material uses a “thinking” process similar to humans. It could find application in autonomous search and rescue systems, in infrastructure repair and even in the development of hybrid biological materials to identify and neutralize airborne pathogens. On the other hand, researchers want to slightly improve touch recognition so that inputs that go beyond the binary system can be received.
Interestingly, work published by Claude E. Shannon in 1938 played an important role in the research that was conducted. called the world father of information theory Describe a method for creating an integrated circuit by creating electrical and mechanical switching networks based on binary logic gates that Harney decided to use. After the modification was introduced, it was possible to hack and create intelligent and thoughtful material.
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