This substance will let you turn your skin into a computer
2013 08 02

By Joseph Bennington-Castro | io9.com



Scientists have created "electronic foils" that will allow circuits to conform to any surface — or get stretched, bent, and crumpled. The electronics may someday become as common as plastic wrap, researchers say.

In recent years, we’ve seen a number of breakthroughs in softer, flexible electronics. Much of the work is spearheaded by the uber-productive John Rogers, a materials scientist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. A few months ago, Rogers and his colleagues developed stretchy, bendable batteries to power a new generation of flexible displays, solar panels and other devices.

Before that, Rogers helped create the "epidermal electronic system" — a type of small, pliable electronic circuit that can be applied to the skin in a similar manner as the application of a temporary tattoo — and transient electronics that dissolve in the body.

"Rogers’ work is really great," says Martin Kaltenbrunner, an engineer at the University of Tokyo. But to expand the applications of flexible electronics even more, Kaltenbrunner and his colleagues decided to design bendy circuits that can be cheaply fabricated over a large area. The electronics, the researchers reasoned, would also have to be super thin. "You cannot really wrap current flexible electronics around anything, but if they were really thin, they could even go into the wrinkles of your skin."

Enter electronic foils.

Using processes common in the semiconductor industry, such as vacuum evaporation and chemical vapor deposition, the scientists manufactured integrated organic circuits onto ultrathin (1 micron) plastic films, also known as polymer foils. As explained in the video below, the electronic foils are just 2 microns thick (one-fifth the thickness of kitchen plastic wrap), 30 times lighter than office paper and have a bend radius of 5 microns, allowing it to be crumpled without harming the circuits. Moreover, given that the plastic films come in huge rolls, the electronic foils can be fabricated cheaply on a large scale.



In their paper, published today in the journal Nature, Kaltenbrunner and his team demonstrated a number of uses for their virtually unbreakable circuits. For example, the researchers built a thin transistor, which they then integrated into a tactile sensor that can conform to uneven surfaces, such as the roof of a person’s mouth.

"If you imagine a person that cannot communicate with anything but their tongue, this would be a nice interface," Kaltenbrunner tells io9. "They could give yes or no answers by touching different spots of the sensor, and the device can conform so nicely that it wouldn’t be painful to wear." Another use for such a sensor would be as artificial skin for robots, which would give them touch sensitivity.

The team also built a mini temperature sensor that can adhere to a person’s finger (or any other skin location). The researchers think that in the future, the simple temperature sensor could be implemented into an imperceptible adhesive bandage for health monitoring.



[...]

Read the full article at: io9.com



Tune into Red Ice Radio:

Kevin Warwick - I, Cyborg, Implants, Cybernetics, AI & The Rise of the Machines in 2020

http://www.redicecreations.com/radio/2008/06jun/RICR-080629.html

Kevin Warwick - I, Cyborg, Implants, Cybernetics, AI & The Rise of the Machines in 2020

Rauni-Leena Luukanen-Kilde - Microchip Mind Control & Parapsychology

Nick Begich - Hour 1 - Controlling the Human Mind

John Hall - Satellite Terrorism, Surveillance Technology, Implantable Microchips & Biometric ID Cards

Aaron Franz - The Philosophical Roots of Transhumanism

Aaron Franz - TransAlchemy, Save the Humans!




Related Articles
Artificial Skin That’s Way More Sensitive to Touch Than The Real Thing
’Melt in the body’ electronics devised
This Man Is Not a Cyborg. Yet.
Stop the Cyborgs: The anti-Google Glass movement
Cyborg anthropologist: "We can all be superhuman"
Cyborg tissue is half living cells, half electronics
Electronics Made From Human Blood Cells Suggest Cyborg Interfaces, Spark Nightmares
Scientists Create Rat Cyborg With Artificial Cerebellum
Your Cyborg Eye Will Talk to You


Latest News from our Front Page

Norway Joins the Race to Develop Killer Robots
2014 10 24
Norway is a large exporter of weapons, which makes the resolution of the debate about creating killer robots an important issue for everyone.  One could debate the overall merits or failings of robotic systems, but an area that clearly has become a point for concern on all sides is the emergence of "killer robots." According to robotics pioneer, David Hanson, ...
Gene That Once Aided Survival in the Arctic Found to Have Negative Impact on Health Today
2014 10 23
In individuals living in the Arctic, researchers have discovered a gene variant that arose thousands of years ago and most likely provided an evolutionary advantage for processing high-fat diets or for surviving in a cold environment; however, the variant also seems to increase the risk of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, and infant mortality in today’s northern populations. {snip} “Our work ...
The Ebola hoax: questions, answers, and the false belief in the “One It”
2014 10 23
“The Reality Manufacturing Company doesn’t just sell ‘fake paintings’ that are easy to spot. No. They also sell images that are geared to mesh with people’s deeply held instincts and thereby produce rigid false beliefs. People are sure that if they gave up such beliefs, their world would fall apart and blow away in the wind.” ...
New Controversial Theory Suggests "Hobbits" Were Not Human - Who Were These Mysterious Beings?
2014 10 23
The origin of the Hobbit species remains a challenging subject to scientists. The Hobbit’s discovery confirmed the view that the Earth was once populated by many species of human, but new research the Hobbit’s were not human at all! So, who were these mysterious beings? Where did they come from? The idea that our species, Homo sapiens, was the only species of human on ...
Right into enemy hands? ISIS shows off new weapons allegedly airdropped by US (VIDEO)
2014 10 23
Islamic State has published a new video in which a jihadist shows off brand-new American hardware, which was purportedly intended for the Kurds they are fighting in the Syrian border town of Kobani. The undated video, posted by the unofficial IS mouthpiece “a3maq news”, sees a jihadist showing several boxes of munitions with English-language markings, with a parachute spread out on ...
More News »