Over at Submitterator
informs us that engineers at Case Western Reserve University developed a mechanical version of a key component of digital circuits for computers. Their mechanical inverter, the basis for many logic gates, is built from nanoscale levers instead of the transistors patterned onto traditional chips. The research was funded by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) who are after electronics that aren't prone to failure under high heat, like that inside a jet or rocket engine control system. Te-Hao Lee and colleagues published their work in the current issue of the journal Science
. From New Scientist:
Like a telegraph operator's Morse key, these levers physically make and break contact to pass or block currents.
"Steampunk chip takes the heat"
Application of a voltage makes the levers move under electrostatic attraction. At 550 °C Lee's team managed to get the inverter to switch on and off 500,000 times a second – performing a computation with each cycle. The faster the switching speed, the zippier the computing. Lee predicts that switching speeds of a billion times a second (1 gigahertz) are possible. That might not sound fast by the standards of desktop PCs, which often run at speeds in excess of 2.5 gigahertz, but for control system applications it's more than adequate.
The fine folks at Techquickie put together a quick overview that takes the mystery out of the dizzying array of audio file formats, including when to use what and brief histories of the most common types.
MetaLimbs is a robotic system that provides the wearer with an extra pair of arms. The mechanical arms are controlled by the user’s legs, feet, and toes. The researchers from Keio University and the University of Tokyo will present their work at next month’s SIGGRAPH 2017 conference in Los Angeles.
Buckets hanging on maple trees may have worked great 200 years ago, but modern producers use a system like the internet: a series of tubes!
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