It continues a line of prototype devices created at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering that can perform the electronic operations now usually handled by silicon chips using carbon nanotubes and metal nanowires set in indium oxide films, and can potentially do so at prices competitive with those of existing technologies.
Its creators believe the device points the way to further applications, such as flexible power supply components in “e-paper” displays and conformable products.
A couple of neat new advances in computing this week. The first is an amazing flexible silicon chip designed by US researchers. The components of the chip are applied onto a thin layer of plastic, at first glued down to a substrate. When the circuit is completed, the glue is disolved and the plastic peels away a flexible chip. The researchers think that removing the traditional blocky form of a chip allows the bendable material to be used in many new applications such as brain implants or smart clothing.
“Silicon microelectronics has been a spectacularly successful technology that has touched virtually every part of our lives,” said Professor John Rogers of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “In many cases you’d like to integrate electronics conformably in a variety of ways in the human body – but the human body does not have the shape of a silicon wafer.”
Meanwhile, Japanese scientists working on the developing technology of printing circuitry like an inkjet printer have developed a technique they believe is good enough to print TFT computer monitors. With all the components of a computer getting smaller and easier to manipulate, the days of the traditional shape of a desktop tower are surely numbered…
Exciting times in the world of electronics as phone company Nokia have designed a wearable, flexible phone. Resembling a normal handset folded in half, when fully unrolled it can be used as a keyboard but it can also be folded lengthways and widthways and curled into a bracelet to wear on the wrist.
Although current battery technology isn’t good enough to join this flexible technology revolution as improvements in nanowire batteries and even static electricity generating clothing could mean that in ten year’s time we wear our phone/mp3 player/personal computer on our sleeve and link up our headphones to it wirelessly.