New publication on "materials that learn"
The research focuses on non-biological dynamic materials and systems to develop a hydrogel-based model system, which is capable of associative learning by classical Pavlovian conditioning. The gel can learn to respond to a new, originally neutral, stimulus upon classical conditioning with an unconditioned stimulus. Further aspects of learning, such as forgetting and spontaneous recovery of memory, are also achieved by driving the system out-of-equilibrium. Designing complex behaviours coupled with engineered physical properties of artiﬁcial materials may provide unforeseen routes and applications eventually mimicking living systems that can autonomously adapt. Possible applications could include e.g. intelligent soft actuators or robots that could evolve, for instance, to recognize colors.
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