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HomeTechnologySquashable computer runs calculations depending on how you squish it

Squashable computer runs calculations depending on how you squish it

A pc made utilizing blocks of rubber with streaks of a rubber-silver compound performs easy calculations when squished


24 August 2022

This mechanical integrated circuit material subtracts two numbers. The design process created by the research team can be extended to nearly any computational process that modern integrated circuits carry out. While these materials do not compete with conventional microprocessors, they will be integral to give engineered materials means to think.

This squishy pc can subtract two numbers

Charles El Helou

Tender cube-shaped computer systems can carry out completely different calculations relying on how they’re squished. The gadgets might 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 strains of a silver-rubber compound working by them. Totally different configurations of the blocks act like completely different circuits, which when mixed and linked to electrical energy make a pc than can carry out specific calculations.

In a single model of the pc, the staff 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 part blocks to the left or to the correct, connecting among the silver-rubber strains that didn’t contact earlier than in such a manner as to encode the numbers in binary. The staff linked 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 sooner or fixing more durable issues, however they may result in tender robots that make choices primarily based on what they contact of their setting, he says.

Sooner or later, Harne imagines a tender pc that’s built-in right into a constructing. It might “resolve” to restore the constructing after a crumbling piece of rock applies strain to it.

Harne says that his staff is engaged on fine-tuning the pc’s “sense of contact” in order that it might take inputs past the binary, for instance by having it encode completely different squishing strengths into completely different values.

Journal reference: Nature, DOI: 10.1038/s41586-022-05004-5

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