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48 SMT007 MAGAZINE I AUGUST 2021 bump-up to a higher-RAM version of the same controller would trigger a board redesign. is puts the EMS company in the role of the initial problem owner, communicating to both the fab and the OEM design team, seek- ing a proper project owner with decision-mak- ing authority. Back at the OEM design team, however, a redesign such as this was likely not anticipated, so it was not planned for in the department's project schedule, resource juggling begins, and the communication commences. As we look to the future of the digital twin, and the emerging ability to capture design intent along with the design data itself, we can expect to see incremental improvements in this communication dynamic. For more insight into how digital twin can improve the communication between designers and EMS, turn to page 10 to read "A Deep Dive into Digital Twin," an interview with Michael Ford. SMT007 Engineers at UC Riverside have unveiled an air- powered computer memory that can be used to control soft robots. The innovation overcomes one of the biggest obstacles to advancing soft robot- ics: the fundamental mismatch between pneumat- ics and electronics. Pneumatic soft robots use pressurized air to move soft, rubbery limbs and grippers and are superior to traditional rigid robots for performing delicate tasks. They are also safer for humans to be around. But existing systems for controlling pneumatic soft robots still use electronic valves and comput- ers to maintain the position of the robot's moving parts. To advance soft robotics toward the future, a team led by bioengineering doctoral student Shane Hoang, his advisor, bioengineering professor Wil- liam Grover, computer science professor Philip Brisk, and mechanical engineering professor Kon- stantinos Karydis, looked back to the past. "Pneumatic logic" predates electronic comput- ers and once provided advanced levels of control in a variety of products, from thermostats and other components of climate control systems to player pianos in the early 1900s. In pneumatic logic, air, not electricity, flows through circuits or channels and air pressure is used to represent on/off or true/false. In modern computers, these logical states are repre- sented by 1 and 0 in code to trigger or end electri- cal charges. Pneumatic soft robots need a way to remember and maintain the positions of their moving parts. The researchers realized that if they could create a pneumatic logic "memory" for a soft robot, they could eliminate the electronic memory currently used for that purpose. The researchers made their pneumatic random- access memory, or RAM, chip using microfluidic valves instead of electronic transistors. The micro- fluidic valves were originally designed to con- trol the flow of liquids on microfluidic chips, but they can also control the flow of air. The valves remain sealed against a pressure dif- ferential even when disconnected from an air supply line, creating trapped pressure differ- entials that function as memories and main- tain the states of a robot's actuators. Dense arrays of these valves can perform advanced operations and reduce the expensive, bulky, and power-consuming electronic hardware typically used to control pneumatic robots. (Source: UC Riverside) Air-powered Computer Memory Helps Soft Robot Control Movements

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