Researchers from Harvard University and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering have shown off a very interesting bit of kit, a flexible logic gate for use in soft robotics. That type of robotics uses rubbers and foams instead of metal gears and grippers, to allow robots to handle and interface with breakable things, up to and including yourself. One hurdle has been that while many motors and materials can be replicated with soft materials, the circuitry has remained inflexible which can cause wear issues.
These researchers have printed out basic NOT, AND and OR logic gates on membranous tissue, which bend with the rubber and foam the robot is built out of using an ingenious, if somewhat repurposed technique. Check out their research over at PhysicsWorld.
"The researchers liken the functionality of their membrane-tube system to a “Schmitt trigger”, a hysteretic circuit used in electronics for analog-to-digital conversion, level detection, and line reception."
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