“The idea of using fluids to build digital logic circuits is not new,” he said. “And actually over the last decade people have been moving towards implementing fluid logic in soft materials, things like elastomers. But until now, nobody had taken the leap. to implement it in leaf-based materials, a feat that required a redesign of the entire approach from first principles.”
The lab tested its logic on devices that assist users in their physical movements and on a system for raising and lowering a hood at the press of a button, without electricity, for thermoregulation.
“We believe there are many ways to implement this to help people go about their daily activities,” Preston said. “One of the next areas we look at is intent detection. As soon as the wearer initiates an action plan, we can then offer support for the rest of that action. For example, you can start typing an object and if the system detects your intention, it will help you close your hand around that object so that you can lift it”, he said.
At the center of the concept is a “NOT” gate, a basic component of computer circuitry also known as an inverter. The output of this logic gate is the inverse (or opposite) of the input. In an electronic circuit, the door is on or off (1 or 0), but the pneumatic door replaces these terms with “high” or “low” air pressure.
The pneumatic system depends on a concept that Preston describes as mathematically designed pleat geometry, implemented in pressure-controllable valves that shut off airflow in the same way that a bent garden hose shuts off air. water. The valves, each about a square inch in size, are laminated in textiles and have proven to be tough enough to handle 20,000 on-off cycles and 1 million flex cycles, as well as 20 cycles in a washing machine. standard household.
Source and top image: Rice University