“Air-powered” memory for “soft robots” playing the piano, pneumatic RAM to meet the hardware shortage?
An “Air-powered” memory has helped a gentle robot play the piano, using a technology called “pneumatic RAM” that uses atmospheric pressures to communicate the binary codes needed for operation. The product does not use any hardware for its random access memory (RAM), and this could be something that could help make way for the public’s hardware or chip shortage.
Chip shortage is a major issue that most industries around the world have faced over the past year, including that of Intel’s CPU division, right up to the release of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series. X.
Flexible pneumatic robots
(Photo: UCR via YouTube Screenshot)
As revealed by University of California – Riverside, an innovation of a team of researchers succeeded in creating a “compressed air” memory to control a soft robot and play the piano. Here, atmospheric pressure is used to communicate the binary codes of ones and zeros to move the rubber fingers of the robots.
Soft robots are said to be “delicate” because they were made for specific purposes that require careful, majestic and elegant movement. Playing the piano requires fluidity on the fingers, and a traditional “hard robot” with metallic components may not provide the same elegance as the soft ones, hence the development.
The study was published on the open access journal of PLOS ROG for the public to see and learn, and it is called “A pneumatic random access memory for controlling software robots“
Read also: Chip shortage continues, forcing manufacturers to raise prices for tech products
The word pneumatic figuratively means that it is something powered or controlled by gas or air to function, and RAM stands for random access memory for computers. Combining the two is not something that can be considered traditional, but more “revolutionary” and new to the industry.
This researchers’ pneumatic RAM no longer needs the hardware chip that is attached to computers that have a small storage capacity to relay current commands to said software. Its pneumatic characteristics use air pressure to operate and relay commands from computer software to the device.
Could this help the flea shortage issues?
The pneumatic RAM that was pioneered by researchers is sort of a work in progress and is under development so that it can be used for other applications besides playing the piano. It can then be used for other purposes, like controlling a computer just from the hot air produced by the cooler fan, for ordinary office build used for work or games.
The application of pneumatic RAM can also be applied to processors or computer processing units, as the traditional RAM hardware can be dedicated to producing the shortage of chips.
In addition, scientists could also develop a “pneumatic processor” that would only require the power of air to run a computer in order to save on components and meet the shortage. This is something speculative, and there is no reported development regarding a pneumatic processor, so take this with caution.
Associated article: Elon Musk: Tesla Powerwall Supply Insufficient as Chip Shortage Prevents – Producing Less Than Half of Demand?
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Written by Isaiah Richard
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