A Team of scientists at Harvard University have built soft circuits that operate using just rubber and air, which they suggest could eliminate the last hard components from soft robots. They detailed their findings in the 25 March online edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Digital circuits symbolize each bit of data as either 1 or 0. The new soft devices symbolize data as different levels of air pressure in silicone rubber tubing — for example, 150 millibars represent 1, and zero millibars represent 0.
Electronic circuits are made up of logic gates — components that perform logic functions such as NOT, OR and AND that underlie digital computation. The new soft devices mimic logic gates using rubber valves that react to air flow in different ways. For example, the NOT logic function inverts the signals it receives, and when the soft NOT logic gate receives a high pressure indicating 1, its output is a low pressure indicating 0.
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