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Electronics

Stretchable, programmable keyboard is tailor-made for wearable tech

Most of the keyboards we're familiar with are actually rather complicated pieces of hardware, usually invlolving springs and wiring for dozens of keys, but scientists at the University of Auckland in New Zealand have developed a streamlined, programmable keyboard using a soft, flexible and stretchable type of rubber known as a dielectric elastomer.Read More

Sensors to detect smouldering cables before they catch alight

They say that where there's smoke there's fire, but when it comes to electrical systems, by the time the smoke is detected, it's often too late. To raise the alarm early, a team of researchers from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences have developed hybrid sensors that detect gases given off by overheated plastic cables before too much damage can occur.Read More

Self-healing gel to repair and connect electronic circuits

Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin may have found a solution to one of the key problems holding back flexible, bendable electronics and soft robotics from mass production. Electronic circuits tend to crack and break when repeatedly subjected to bending or flexing, but a new self-healing gel may automatically repair these flaws as they develop.Read More

"Covert contacts" enable more efficient solar cell design

You've probably noticed that solar panels sitting on people's roofs appear to be broken up into grids. These grid lines are actually metal contacts and, although they're necessary for conducting the electrical current generated by the underlying semiconductor, they reduce the amount of sunlight reaching the semiconductor layer. Now researchers at Stanford University have developed a way to make these reflective metal contacts almost invisible to incoming light, thereby increasing solar panel efficiency.Read More

Smart chip offers a warning ahead of battery failure

The lithium-ion batteries that power everything from smartphones to electric vehicles carry a relatively low individual chance of failure, but the sheer quantity in use everyday means the risk of something going horribly wrong somewhere in the world is quite real. Looking to safeguard against such events, a team of scientists has developed a smart chip that can be embedded inside these batteries to monitor their health, offering a warning when it is at risk of catching fire or exploding.Read More

Scientists create electronic circuits in living roses

In what seems like the most unlikely of unions, a team of scientists at the Linköping University Laboratory for Organic Electronics are working to combine flowers, bushes, and trees with electronics to produce a breed of botanical cyborgs. Led by Professor Magnus Berggren, the researchers have used semiconductive polymers to create the key components of analog and digital electronic circuits inside a rose plant.Read More

BitDrones could be used in flying interactive displays

Researchers working at Queen’s University’s Human Media Lab in Ontario have created a collaborating swarm of drones that act as 3D pixels (voxels) to create giant, flying interactive displays. The researchers claim that the "BitDrone" system provides users with the ability to investigate virtual information presented in 3D by directly manipulating these hovering voxels for use in the likes of 3D gaming, medical imaging, and molecular modelling.Read More

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