An "air-powered" memory helped a soft robot to play the piano, using a technology called "pneumatic RAM" that uses atmospheric pressures to communicate the binary codes needed to function. The product is not using any hardware for its random access memory (RAM), and it could be something that could help make way for the hardware or chip shortage of the public.

The chip shortage is a massive problem that most of the industries in the world have been facing over the past year, including that of Intel's CPU division, down to the distribution of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X.

Air-Powered Soft Robots

Soft Piano Powered by Pneumatic RAM
(Photo : UCR via YouTube Screenshot)

As revealed by the University of California - Riverside, an innovation by a team of researchers have successfully made an "air-powered" memory to control a soft robot and play the piano. Here, the atmospheric pressure is used to communicate the binary codes of ones and zeroes to move the rubber fingers of the robots.

Soft robots are said to be "delicate" as they were made for specific purposes which require being careful, majestic, and elegant moving. Playing the piano requires fluidity on one's fingers, and a traditional "hard robot" with the metal components may not bring the same elegance as the soft ones, hence the development.

The study was published on PLOS ROG's open-access journal for the public to see and learn about, and it is entitled "A pneumatic random-access memory for controlling soft robots"

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Pneumatic RAM

The word pneumatic figuratively means that it is something powered or controlled by gas or air to function, and RAM means 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 pneumatic RAM of the researchers no longer requires the hardware chip that is attached to computers which hold a small storage capacity to relay the current controls from the said software. Its pneumatic characteristics use the pressure in the air to function and relay controls from the computer software, down to the device.

Could This Help Chip Shortage Problems?

The pneumatic RAM that was debuted by the researchers is something of a work-in-progress and is under development so that it may be used for other applications, aside from playing the piano. It can be then used for other purposes like controlling a computer purely from the cooler fan's produced hot air, for a regular desktop build used for work or games.

The application of pneumatic RAM can also be applied to CPUs, or computer processing units, as the traditional RAM's hardware can be dedicated to the production of the chip shortage.

Moreover, scientists may also develop a "pneumatic CPU" that would only require the power of air to make a computer function to save on components and answer the shortage. This is something of speculation, and there are no reported developments regarding a pneumatic CPU, so take this with caution.

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Written by Isaiah Richard

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