Feeds

Does it feel good when I twist your circuits?

Now it does!

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The next step in data security

Stretch Armstong: bendy, stretchy and twistable. Not particularly useful.
Electronics: Useful. Not so much with twisty business.

If only researchers could figure out a way to... OH HEY!

Scientists Yonggang Huang of Northwestern University and John Rogers of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have developed a way to make circuits that can bend, stretch, and twist without breaking. They believe the technology will be useful to make new flexible sensors and solar panels, and for medical and athletic devices.

Image courtesy of Northwestern University

Their research was published online by Proceedings of the National Academy of Science and will be featured on its upcoming December 2 edition.

The two have partnered to create stretchable electronics since 2005, with Huang working on theory and Rogers focusing on experiments. Their new work improves on what was originally a form of single-crystal silicon they developed that could be stretched in one direction without changing its electrical properties.

Next, using an array of circuit elements that were connected by metal "pop-up bridges," they developed circuits that could be placed on a curved surface. The tiny circuit elements (about 100 micrometers square) don't actually bend themselves, but are connected by metal wires which pop up when stretched or bent. But still no twisting until now.

The new design modifies the pop-up bridges into "S" shapes, which adds the necessary new dimension of flexibility.

"For a lot of applications related to the human body – like placing a sensor on the body – an electronic device needs not only to bend and stretch but also to twist," stated Huang. "So we improved our pop-up technology to accommodate this. Now it can accommodate any deformation."

Yes, but will it blend? ®

Bootnote

Our favorite part: Northwestern describes the picture of the bendy circuit provided as "an optical image of an electronic device in a complex deformation mode". Science!

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
PORTAL TO ELSEWHERE scried in small galaxy far, far away
Supermassive black hole dominates titchy star formation
Bacon-related medical breakthrough wins Ig Nobel prize
Is there ANYTHING cured pork can't do?
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
Stray positrons caught on ISS hint at DARK MATTER source
Landlubber scope-gazers squint to horizons and see anti-electron count surge
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.