A pc made utilizing blocks of rubber with streaks of a rubber-silver compound performs easy calculations when squished
24 August 2022
Comfortable cube-shaped computer systems can carry out totally different calculations relying on how they’re squished. The gadgets may very well be used for robots that reply to bodily stimuli.
Ryan Harne at Pennsylvania State College and his colleague developed a method for combining rows of blocks of rubber which have traces of a silver-rubber compound working by them. Completely different configurations of the blocks act like totally different circuits, which when mixed and related to electrical energy make a pc than can carry out specific calculations.
In a single model of the pc, the workforce set it up so as to add collectively two numbers. A person would then inform the pc which numbers so as to add by squishing the element blocks to the left or to the best, connecting a number of the silver-rubber traces that didn’t contact earlier than in such a approach as to encode the numbers in binary. The workforce related a (non-squishable) digital show to the pc to point out the results of the calculation.
The researchers additionally created squishy computer systems that might multiply two numbers or evaluate them to find out which is larger.
Ryan Hayward on the College of Colorado Boulder says that squishable computer systems wouldn’t beat standard computer systems by being quicker or fixing tougher issues, however they might result in smooth robots that make choices primarily based on what they contact of their surroundings, he says.
Sooner or later, Harne imagines a smooth pc that’s built-in right into a constructing. It might “determine” to restore the constructing after a crumbling piece of rock applies strain to it.
Harne says that his workforce is engaged on fine-tuning the pc’s “sense of contact” in order that it could take inputs past the binary, for instance by having it encode totally different squishing strengths into totally different values.
Journal reference: Nature, DOI: 10.1038/s41586-022-05004-5
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