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Additively manufacturable micro-mechanical logic gates


Early examples of computers were almost exclusively based on mechanical devices. Although electronic computers became dominant in the past 60 years, recent advancements in three-dimensional micro-additive manufacturing technology provide new fabrication techniques for complex microstructures which have rekindled research interest in mechanical computations. Here we propose a new digital mechanical computation approach based on additively-manufacturable micro-mechanical logic gates. The proposed mechanical logic gates (i.e., NOT, AND, OR, NAND, and NOR gates) utilize multi-stable micro-flexures that buckle to perform Boolean computations based purely on mechanical forces and displacements with no electronic components. A key benefit of the proposed approach is that such systems can be additively fabricated as embedded parts of microarchitected metamaterials that are capable of interacting mechanically with their surrounding environment while processing and storing digital data internally without requiring electric power.

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