Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Flexible

Solar cells created from ultra-thin layers of quantum dots (Photo: Chia-Hao Chuang, Depart...

Flexible, inexpensive, large-area, lightweight solar cells are difficult to produce as they require an inert atmosphere and high temperatures, and they often degrade in a short time after exposure to air. Researchers at MIT, however, have used a new method to craft solar cells from ultra-thin layers of quantum dots in a process that promises to avoid these problems, and at room temperature. At the same time, they have also set a new record of nine percent for the most efficient quantum-dot solar cells produced to date.  Read More

These implantable shape changing transistors can grip nerves and tissues, changing shape w...

A multinational group of scientists has developed implantable shape-changing transistors that can grip nerves, blood vessels and tissues. According to the researchers, these soft electronic devices can change shape within the body, while still maintaining their electronic properties, allowing them to be used in a variety of applications and treatments.  Read More

The PaperFold smartphone prototype allows up to three separate E-Ink displays to be combin...

Long before Korean electronics giants LG and Samsung rolled out smartphones with curved displays in the form of the G Flex and Galaxy Round, the team from the Human Media Lab at Canada's Queen's University created the Paperphone, a fully-functioning flexible smartphone prototype featuring a thin film E-Ink display. This was followed by the PaperTab tablet and MorePhone smartphone prototypes. Now the foldable PaperFold smartphone has joined the fold.  Read More

Microscope photo of tungsten diselenide samples connected to electrodes

Graphene, the two-dimensional lattice of carbon atoms, may be the wonder material du jour, but ultrathin layers of other elements are also proving to be an exciting area of research. One-atom-thick sheets of germanium and tin have shown potential as semiconductors and a topological insulators respectively, and now ultrathin layers of tungsten and selenium have been used to create a diode that could be used in ultrathin, flexible, semi-transparent solar cells.  Read More

One of the flexible, stretchable optical interconnections

If flexible electronic devices are ever going to become practical for real-world use, the circuitry incorporated into them will have to be tough and resilient. We're already seeing progress in that direction, including electrical wires that can still carry a current while being stretched. However, what if the application calls for the use of fiber optics? Well, scientists from Belgium may have that covered, too. They've created optical circuits utilizing what they believe are the world's first stretchable optical interconnections.  Read More

A close view of the nanomesh (inset)

We're coming just that much closer to electronic devices such as TV screens that can be rolled up in a tube, or phones that can be folded up and stuffed in a pocket. Scientists at the University of Houston have created a gold nanomesh material that is conductive, transparent and flexible – a combination that they claim has never before been achieved.  Read More

The Madrid-based Didomestic, by Elii Architects (Photo: Miguel de Guzmán)

Fun-loving Spanish architects Elii, the same firm responsible for the JF-Kit House, recently completed a loft apartment refurbishment in Madrid. Coined Didomestic, the ambitious project sees the company's creative flair focused toward maximizing flexibility and storage space, with thought-provoking results.  Read More

A silver nanowire-based sensor mounted onto a thumb joint to monitor the skin strain assoc...

In 2012, Dr. Yong Zhu and a team at North Carolina State University created highly conductive and elastic conductors made from silver nanowires. At the time, Dr. Zhu said the conductors could be used to create stretchable electronics with applications in wearable, multifunctional sensors. Two years later, the NC State researchers have developed just such a sensor.  Read More

LG's Flexible OLED TV allows users to alter the curvature of the display to suit their pre...

OLED technology has already enabled LG and Samsung to produce TVs with curved displays, but now LG has gone one step further with the unveiling of an OLED TV with a changeable curvature. Revealed at CES, the TV is the latest salvo in the ongoing TV battle between the two Korean electronics giants.  Read More

Prof. Som Mitra (left) invented a flexible battery with assistance from Zhiqian Wang, a do...

Scientists at the New Jersey Institute of Technology have joined the ranks of those from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Stanford University and LG, by creating prototype flexible batteries. Designed for use in electronic devices with flexible displays, they could conceivably be manufactured in any size or shape, or even made at home.  Read More

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