American scientists from Penn State University and the US Air Force have created the first flexible, “thinking” integrated circuit out of rubber polymers.
Scientific advancements in materials engineering are highlighted by the study, which was published in Nature. An integrated circuit built from a non-semiconductor material is an industry first.
The material’s rubber construction is remarkable in itself, but what really sets it apart is its ability to sense and respond to varying mechanical pressure pressures. Watch the clip.
The developed part, the researchers claim, can check the forces in its environment and choose the most suitable adaptive response to that stimulus. All that’s required is the substance itself to receive and decode the binary information.
Ryan L. Harne, the study’s lead scientist, draws an analogy between the human body and computer processing power to describe how “the soft polymer material acts like a brain that can receive digital sequences of information that are processed, resulting in new sequences of digital information that can control reactions.”
The researchers claim that this method has limitless potential applications, including SAR, infrastructure restoration, and bio-hybrid materials, to name a few.
However, this is just the start. Engineers are working on a method to teach the material to detect visual cues; this will allow it to respond and avoid potential threats, much as the material can “think” a strategy during game play.