Researchers Create Stretchy 'Rubber Band' Electronics, Can Flick At People's Eyes
Nick Gilbert
at 03:18 PM 03 Jul 2020
Comments 0
Will the computers of tomorrow look a little like these?
Will the computers of tomorrow look a little like these?
IMAGE BY Michell Zappa

When we think of gadgets and electronics, we're not usually thinking of how bendy and rubbery we wish they were. Fortunately for us small minded folk, though, a research term has been thinking very hard about the problem, and have come up with a way to create the stretchiest electronics yet.

The team from Northwestern University in the States have developed a way to make electronics that can stretch to about twice their normal size, with thanks to a polymer-liquid metal combo.

The polymer, poly-dimethylsiloxane or PDMS, brings the stretch to the party, with liquid eutetic (low melting point) gallium-indium allowing the circuits to conduct and do all those things we need electronics to actually do.

"With current technology, electronics are able to stretch a small amount, but many potential applications require a device to stretch like a rubber band. With that level of stretchability we could see medical devices integrated into the human body."" said study lead and Northwester Professor Yonggang Huang.

The problem up until now with flexible electronics has been finding ways to keep the conductivity of the metal when it is stretched out. The polymer in the new mix is porous, meaning the metal actually goes inside the plastic and can move freely within it.

The possibilities are, of course, enormous. Flex-y laptops, computers that can be compacted and embedded in structures, the aforementioned medical implants - plus you're that much less likely to break your laptop the next time you accidentally sit on it.

The study has been published in Nature Communications.

Awesome New Electronics Can Dissolve and Disappear When They're No Longer Needed
A new class of electronics can dissolve and disappear on a pre-set schedule, within a few minutes or a few years, depending on when you want them to go away. They could live in the... more >
The Future of Electronics is Just One Single Molecule Thick
Where electronics are concerned, the future is two-dimensional and very, very thin. One molecule thin, to be exact. That's not quite as thin as a sheet of graphene, but new researc... more >
NIST's Quantum Simulator Mimics Hundreds of Qubits Interacting
In a case that's somewhat chicken-and-egg, one of the many reasons computer scientists and physicists are pursuing a working quantum computer is to model quantum systems themselves... more >
The Creepiest Looking Artificial Muscle Motor Ever
It takes a lot to creep us out. Most of us here at PopSci, and a lot of you as well, and seen all sorts of weird, uncanny robots and bizarre biological specimens, but the simple si... more >

Leave a comment

Please provide your details to leave a comment.

The fields marked with (*) are required.

Display Name: *
Email *:
Comments *:
(Max 750 characters)
Characters remaining:

(letters are not case-sensitive)

Enter the text in the image above
Editor's Picks
BY Lindsey Kratochwill POSTED 30.01.2020 | 0 COMMENTS
BY Anthony Fordham POSTED 21.01.2020 | 0 COMMENTS