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Stretchable Electronics

Materials

Novel smart materials change color and opacity when stretched

Marine animals such as squid, cuttlefish, and octopus can display incredible patterns of colors by selectively contracting individual muscles to activate pigment-containing cells below their skin. Inspired by this novel capability, researchers from the University of Connecticut have created color and transparency changing materials that alter their properties in response to mechanical force. Known collectively as mechanocromics, these materials might be used to create everything from smart windows to physical encryption devices.Read More

Materials

Stretchy squid-inspired skin glows in different colors

Besides having tentacles, squid and octopi are also both known for their color-changing skin. Well, soft-bodied robots may soon also share that attribute, thanks to research being carried out at Cornell University. Led by assistant professor Rob Shepherd, a team of grad students there has developed an electroluminescent rubber "skin" that not only emits light in different colors, but that can also do so while being stretched to more than six times its original length.Read More

Liquid metal runs through new flexible circuits

Before things like touch-sensitive robot skin or prosthetics skin can become commonplace, we first need to develop robust and reliable flexible electronics. Researchers from Switzerland's EPFL research institute have taken a big step toward that goal, by developing circuits that remain functioning while being stretched by up to four times their original length.Read More

Materials

Carbon nanotubes used to create conducting fibers for artificial muscles

A new kind of conducting fiber developed at the University of Texas at Dallas is being used to develop artificial muscles and capacitors that store more energy when stretched. The fiber, which is composed of carbon nanotube sheets wrapped around a rubber core, may one day also find use in morphing aircraft, stretchy charger cords and exoskeleton limbs, along with connecting cables for a wealth of other devices.Read More

Science

"Nano-accordion" conductors may find use in flexible and stretchable electronics

A new conductive, transparent, and stretchable nanomaterial that folds up like an accordion could one day be applied to the development of flexible electronics and wearable sensors, as well as stretchable displays. The researchers at North Carolina State University who created this "nano-accordion" structure caution that it is early days yet, but they hope to find ways to improve its conductivity and eventually scale it up for commercial or industrial use.Read More

Science

Stretchable optical circuits could find use in robot skin and more

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

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