Scientists have created a material that can think and feel

(ORDO NEWS) — Researchers have created the first sample of a soft polymer material that “functions like a brain.”

Researchers at the US Air Force and Pennsylvania State University have taken mechanical processing of information and integrated it into an artificial material that can “think.”

The scientists built on research done as early as 1938 and used mechanical processing of information. Then they integrated it into an improved form of the material.

“We’ve created the first piece of engineering material that, when mechanically acted upon, can feel, think, and act simultaneously without requiring additional circuitry to process those signals,” said Pennsylvania State University professor of mechanical engineering Ryan Harn.

“The soft polymer material acts like a brain that can receive digital strings of information, which are then processed to form new strings of digital information that can drive reactions.”

The research team found that “virtually any material” available to mankind can be used to create integrated circuits capable of computing.

The technology, which can be compared to the human brain, is based on integrated circuits, which typically use silicon semiconductors.

The scientists demonstrated the material’s capabilities by making it perform complex arithmetic calculations.

The material uses reconfigurable circuits to capture external stimuli and convert them into electrical information that can then be processed to produce output signals.

It can even be incorporated into biohybrid materials that can detect, separate, and eliminate airborne infections.

Now the researchers want to improve the material so that it can interpret visual data in a similar way to how it “feels” physical signals.

The US Air Force-funded study is published for the first time in the weekly international journal Nature, which publishes peer-reviewed research.


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