A new model for mechanical computing is demonstrated that requires only two basic parts, links, and rotary joints. These basic parts are combined into two main higher level structures, locks, and balances, and suffice to create all necessary combinatorial and sequential logic required for a Turing-complete computational system. While working systems have yet to be implemented using this new approach, the mechanical simplicity of the systems described may lend themselves better to, e.g., microfabrication, than previous mechanical computing designs. Additionally, simulations indicate that if molecular-scale implementations could be realized, they would be far more energy-efficient than conventional electronic computers.
Mechanical Computing Systems Using Only Links and Rotary Joints
Contributed by the Mechanisms and Robotics Committee of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF MECHANISMS AND ROBOTICS. Manuscript received December 19, 2017; final manuscript received August 8, 2018; published online September 17, 2018. Assoc. Editor: Clement Gosselin.
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Merkle, R. C., Freitas, R. A., Hogg, T., Moore, T. E., Moses, M. S., and Ryley, J. (September 17, 2018). "Mechanical Computing Systems Using Only Links and Rotary Joints." ASME. J. Mechanisms Robotics. December 2018; 10(6): 061006. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.4041209
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