September 21

Scientists create stretchable material that paves the way to wearable electronics

first_imgThough it’s now common practice for people to carry around tiny computers that fit into their pockets, connect to the internet, and also make phone calls, we’re still not at the point of complex, wearable electronics. A major hurdle on the path toward wearable tech isn’t necessarily the ability to stuff a bunch of complicated pieces into a small device, but rather that something wearable needs to be malleable enough to conform to the curves of a body, as well as its movement. Inspired by the way tendons connect to bones, Swiss scientists have created a material that could be the basis for practical stretchable electronics.The main problem with stuffing electronics into a malleable material is that the components themselves don’t stretch enough. Andre Studart, a researcher at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, and his team have figured out a way around that issue. They’ve created a stretchy polyurethane material that contains little pockets of stiffer — though still somewhat stretchy — material that can safely house the delicate electronic components. The safety pockets are made out of aluminum oxide and a synthetic clay called laponite, and are then injected into the polyurethane material. While the surrounding polyurethane material can stretch up to 350%, the pockets are able to survive the strain.The Swiss team’s stretchy electronic material isn’t the only one currently in development. MC10 Inc., based in Massachusetts, has developed a way to put thin silicon chips into a stretchable polymer, connected by wires that can withstand up to a 60% stretch. Both companies aren’t quite sure of the initial commercial uses just yet, though the Swiss company noted that their tech could be used in creating, for example, synthetic cartilage that is more malleable to the movements and growth of the body, decreasing potential wear-and-tear in the long run. Like with most impressive experimental technology, the only thing we can do is wait and see if it ever comes to fruition.via Reuterslast_img

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Posted September 21, 2019 by admin in category "hygbieoj

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