Feeds

Japanese boffins build 'robotic skin'

Bendy circuits thinner than cling film

High performance access to file storage

Japanese boffins have taken the wraps off what they claim to be the world’s thinnest and lightest electronic circuits, potentially paving the way for wearable healthcare applications and even “robotic skin” in the future.

Tokyo University researchers Takao Someya and Tsuyoshi Sekitani have been running the government sponsored Exploratory Research for Advanced Technology (ERATO) program alongside a group from Johannes Kepler University (JKU) in Austria.

The ultrathin integrated circuits they produced are thinner than cling-film and, because manufacturing costs are low, could be as common as the ubiquitous household item in the future, according to a research paper published in Nature last week.

They go on to explain the discovery as follows:

Fabricated directly on ultrathin (1 μm) polymer foils, our electronic circuits are light (3 g m−2) and ultraflexible and conform to their ambient, dynamic environment. Organic transistors with an ultra-dense oxide gate dielectric a few nanometres thick formed at room temperature enable sophisticated large-area electronic foils with unprecedented mechanical and environmental stability: they withstand repeated bending to radii of 5 μm and less, can be crumpled like paper, accommodate stretching up to 230 per cent on pre-strained elastomers, and can be operated at high temperatures and in aqueous environments.

Japanese technology site DigInfo TV has a handy video showing the ultrathin circuits in action, on a prototype touch sensor.

"The new flexible touch sensor is the world's thinnest, lightest and people cannot feel the existence of this device,” Tokyo University professor Someya told the site.

“I believe this development will open up a wide range of new applications, from health monitoring systems, wearable medical instruments, and even robotic skins in the future." ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Video games make you NASTY AND VIOLENT
Especially if you are bad at them and keep losing
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Solar-powered aircraft unveiled for round-the-world flight
It's going to be a slow and sleepy flight for the pilots
Russian deputy PM: 'We are coming to the Moon FOREVER'
Plans to annex Earth's satellite with permanent base by 2030
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
India's GPS alternative launches second satellite
Closed satnav system due to have all seven birds aloft by 2016
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
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.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
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.