Tuesday March 26, 2019

Colour-Changing e-skin to have Robotics Uses: Chinese Scientists

The research can have applications in robotics, prosthetics and wearable technology

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Chinese researchers have developed a user-interactive electronic skin that can change colour and it can have uses in robotics
Chinese researchers have developed a user-interactive electronic skin that can change colour -- an ability associated with animals such as chameleons, octopuses and squid and it can uses in robotics. Wikimedia
  • Chinese researchers have developed a user-interactive electronic skin that can change colour
  • The changes are perceptible to the human eye without much strain
  • The researchers employed flexible electronics made from graphene, in the form of a highly-sensitive resistive strain sensor, combined with a stretchable organic electrochromic device

Beijing, July 26, 2017: Chinese researchers have developed a user-interactive electronic skin that can change colour — an ability associated with animals such as chameleons, octopuses and squid. The changes are perceptible to the human eye without much strain.

Though science has been able to replicate these abilities with artificial skin, the colour changes are often only visible to the naked eye when the material is put under huge mechanical strain.

The research conducted by Tsinghua University in Beijing can have applications in robotics, prosthetics and wearable technology.

“This user-interactive e-skin should be promising for applications in wearable devices, robots and prosthetics in the future,” the study mentioned.

ALSO READHas The Chinese Government Done Enough to Assist Victims of ‘Comfort Women’ System?

The researchers employed flexible electronics made from graphene, in the form of a highly-sensitive resistive strain sensor, combined with a stretchable organic electrochromic device.

“To obtain good performance with a simple process and reduced cost, we designed a modulus-gradient structure to use graphene as both the highly sensitive strain-sensing element and the insensitive stretchable electrode of the ECD layer,” said Tingting Yang from Tsinghua University, in a paper published in the journal 2D Materials.

The researchers found that subtle strain — between zero and 10 per cent — was enough to cause an obvious colour change, and the RGB value of the colour quantified the magnitude of the applied strain.

The study noted that the capability for interactive colour changes with such a small strain range has been rarely reported before. (IANS)

Next Story

Intel and Cray Collaborate With U.S. Government, Aims for Nation’s Fastest Computer

The world's current most powerful machine, the Summit supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, contains chips from International Business Machines Corp. and Nvidia.

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Intel
This Jan. 1, 2018, file photo shows an Intel logo on the box containing an HP desktop computer on sale at a Costco in Pittsburgh. VOA

A U.S. government-led group is working with chipmaker Intel and Cray to develop and build the nation’s fastest computer by 2021 for conducting nuclear weapons and other research, officials said Monday.

The Department of Energy and the Argonne National Laboratory near Chicago said they were working on a supercomputer dubbed Aurora with Intel, the world’s biggest supplier of data center chips, and Cray, which specializes in the ultra-fast machines.

The $500 million contract for the project calls on the companies to deliver a computer with so-called exaflop performance — that is, being able to perform 1 quintillion (1,000,000,000,000,000,000) calculations per second.

Computer
It also heightens the stakes in a race in which the United States, China, the European Union and Japan have all announced plans to build exaflop-capable supercomputers. VOA

If the project succeeds, Aurora would represent nearly an order of magnitude leap over existing machines that feature so-called petaflop performance, capable of doing 1 quadrillion (1,000,000,000,000,000) calculations a second.

It also heightens the stakes in a race in which the United States, China, the European Union and Japan have all announced plans to build exaflop-capable supercomputers.

One of Aurora’s primary functions would be simulating nuclear blasts, a pillar of weapons development since the ban of live detonation testings.

Aurora will be built with artificial intelligence capabilities for projects such as developing better battery materials and helping the Department of Veterans Affairs prevent suicides, Rick Stevens, an associate lab director with Argonne overseeing the exascale computing project, said during a news
briefing.

The project is a win for Intel, which will supply its Xeon CPU chips and Optane memory chips for Aurora.

FILE - The Nvidia booth is shown at the E3 2017 Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, June 13, 2017.
The Nvidia booth is shown at the E3 2017 Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, June 13, 2017. VOA

Intel has been fending off rival U.S. chipmaker Nvidia Corp.’s rise in the chip content of supercomputers as the machines take on more artificial intelligence work. Nvidia’s chips are found in five of the world’s current top 10 supercomputers, though the Nvidia chips are found alongside chips from its rivals, according to TOP500, which ranks the machines.

The world’s current most powerful machine, the Summit supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, contains chips from International Business Machines Corp. and Nvidia.

The source of chips for supercomputers has become a factor in trade tensions between the United States and China. The world’s third-fastest supercomputer — the Sunway TaihuLight in China — has chips developed domestically in China.

Also Read: U.S. Tariffs on China Could Remain Same, Even After Reaching The Trade Deal

Chirag Dekate, an analyst with Gartner who studies the supercomputing market, said that despite the small contract size relative to Intel’s overall revenue, the work done on Aurora will eventually filter down to the company’s commercial customers.

“It’s not just a jingoistic race between the U.S. and China,” Dekate said. “The innovations that Intel is developing here will percolate down to other parts of its business.” (VOA)