Feeds

Stretchy 'bucky-gel' promises touchscreen video-stockings

Interactive nano-Spandex iPants for all

High performance access to file storage

Japanese boffins have developed a material which they believe could be used to make stretchy, highly flexible electronic circuitry. It goes almost without saying that their elasto-conductor miracle sheet is based on fashionable carbon nanotubes.

Science Magazine brings us the scoop on the rubbery circuitboard breakthrough. According to the report, one makes the stretchy conductor sheet by first mixing up nanotubes with ionic liquid to produce "bucky gel*", and then mixing this with polymer before spreading it out flat and drying it. Once dry, the flexibility is increased by making lots of tiny holes in the resulting sheet.

The end result, seemingly, is a flexible, elastic, porous material "like a woman's nylon stocking". The designers, led by Tokyo Uni engineering brainbox Takao Someya, say it is four times as stretchy as anything conductive, and a hundred times as conductive as anything stretchy. Someya and his colleague Tsuyoshi Sekitani have previously collaborated on similarly flexy pressure sensors.

The boffins reckon that bucky-gel elasto circuitry would be a tip-top replacement for today's rigid boards in many applications. It might be combined with flexible display and pressure-sensor tech to produce roll-up computers, TVs and so forth. Such equipment could be incorporated into clothing, for instance, producing truly wearable computing. Given that Reuters quotes Sekitani as saying that the kit would be excellent for use on "curved surfaces and movable parts", and the stuff already resembles stockings, it seems that the day of the long-sought interactive touchscreen tights - or at any rate, video stretchpants - may be at hand.

Marvellous what they can do nowadays, etc. ®

Bootnote

*As in Buckminster Fuller, the man behind the geodesic dome climbing frames once popular in playgrounds. Spherical carbon molecules are named "buckyballs", as they are thought to have the same kind of structure, and the whole class of mad molecules are called fullerenes, including the increasingly trendy nano-tubular ones.

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
Get your MOON GEAR: Auction to feature Space Race memorabilia
Keepsakes from early NASA, Soviet programs up for bids
New FEMTO-MOON sighted BIRTHING from Saturn's RING
Icy 'Peggy' looks to be leaving the outer rings
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.