Believe It Or Not! Scientists Engineered a Material That Can ‘Think’ and ‘Sense’

Image Credit: Kelby Hochriether/Penn State

Do you know how our brain responds when someone taps our shoulder? The signals generated by touch receptors in our skin travel to our brain. Our brain then processes the information and guides us to look in the direction of the tap. 

Now, Researchers at the US Air Force and Penn State University have developed an artificial material that can “think.” Known as a metamaterial, it can independently make a decision, and perform an action.

“We have created the first example of an engineering material that can simultaneously sense, think and act upon mechanical stress, without requiring additional circuits to process such signals,” said Ryan Harne, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at Pennsylvania State University.

The soft polymer material acts like a brain that can receive digital strings of information that are then processed, resulting in new sequences of digital information that can control reactions.”

Science behind

This technology works like our brain. For executing the required actions, metamaterial uses a computer chip to control or manipulate the processing of information. Then it makes use of the electrical power to convert that energy into mechanical energy. 

Co-author of the study, Guoliang Huang said, “Basically, we are controlling how this material responds to changes in external stimuli found in its surroundings,”

“For example, we can apply this material to stealth technology in the aerospace industry by attaching the material to aerospace structures. It can help control and decrease noises coming from the aircraft, such as engine vibrations, which can increase its multifunctional capabilities.”

Bianca Van der Watt

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