Technology

Created a metamaterial that can “think”

Summary

He is able to analyze what is happening to him or the environment, and respond to this with programmed reactions. Designed autonomous machines combined with artificial intelligence have long been the main subject of science fiction, and often such developments […]

He is able to analyze what is happening to him or the environment, and respond to this with programmed reactions.

Designed autonomous machines combined with artificial intelligence have long been the main subject of science fiction, and often such developments have acted as antagonists. But what if these autonomous machines were beneficial to humans?

“We’ve created soft mechanical metamaterials with flexible, conductive polymer networks that can do all digital logic computations,” says Ryan Harn, a scientist at the University of Pennsylvania. He notes that the development has enormous potential and can be applied in many areas, from treating people to improving the environment.

New soft mechanical metamaterials can analyze how forces are applied to them and respond with preprogrammed responses. Photo: Elizabeth Flores-Gomez Murray / Penn State
The scientist says that the created materials “think” in accordance with the output voltage signal from the reconfigured network of the conducting polymer. A combination of electrical and mechanical signals allows the car to move to, for example, get off the road or push in a specific direction.

The article published by the researchers also describes how the developed materials will help autonomous engineering systems in the future, in which the basic elements of life forms are nested. It’s about supporting sustainable and reliable urban infrastructure, monitoring air and waterborne pollutants and pathogens, and even helping hospital patients heal their wounds.

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