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New Connections For Stretchable, Twistable Electronics

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the name-your-favorite-use-case dept.

Hardware Hacking 60

tugfoigel writes "Jizhou Song, a professor in the University of Miami College of Engineering and his collaborators Professor John Rogers, at the University of Illinois and Professor Yonggang Huang, at Northwestern University have developed a new design for stretchable electronics that can be wrapped around complex shapes, without a reduction in electronic function. The new mechanical design strategy is based on semiconductor nanomaterials that can offer high stretchability (e.g., 140%) and large twistability such as corkscrew twists with tight pitch (e.g., 90 degrees in 1 cm). Potential uses for the new design include electronic devices for eye cameras, smart surgical gloves, body parts, airplane wings, back planes for liquid crystal displays and biomedical devices."

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Devices (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26594061)

not devises.

Re:Devices (2, Funny)

ATMD (986401) | more than 5 years ago | (#26594497)

No, Devizes [google.co.uk] . A small English town well-known for its high population of bioscientists :)

Speaking of the type who'd design these, (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26594063)

The black man's skin is thick and lush, sensuous to the touch, like satin and velvet made flesh. There's only one patch of skin on a white man's body that remotely compares to nearly every inch of a black man's skin.

And I had the socially acceptable explanation for my craving. I used that paucity-of-available-white-partners rationale to explain my relationships with black men for several years. A white woman past forty is often passed over by her white-male contemporaries. Black men are happy to get the babe they couldn't have when she was twentysomething and fertile.

I want black men. They want me. The white woman who goes after black men is a variant of sex journalist Susie Bright's "white bitch in heat," a woman who puts sex first even though women aren't supposed to do that. According to one school of thought, white women turn to black men when their sex drives kick into higher gear and their social inhibitions recede into the rearview mirror. It's a "yes, baby, now I'm ready for you" reaction.

Black men have something white guys don't have anymore: confidence in their masculinity, their sexuality. They clearly know they're men. White men appear to be waiting for the latest sociological research study to let them know if they are men or not. Yet black men are gentlemen, something else white men no longer are. They make me feel like a woman, both respected and desired. I can let go of my inhibitions, my need to control, when I am with them. How many white men can treat a woman like a lady and ravish her too? The last time I had sex with a white man, we slogged along a bumpy road in a really old VW, the driver like the typical bumbling tv husband who would neither ask for nor accept the directions he badly needed.

My current lover, a handsome businessman, seduced me via eye contact at a neighborhood buffet while I was eating fatback and chicken wings with a friend. Without saying a word, he paid the compliments, asked the questions with his expressive eyes. He didn't move over to sit beside me and ask if he could buy me a drink until he knew the time was right. Both soft-spoken and assertive, he has impeccable manners and charm. I was kissing him in a cab 30 minutes after that drink.

Black penises look better than those of white men, and black men touch and kiss and make love better than white men. Statistically, their penises are only a fraction of an inch bigger on average, but they seem bigger and harder. White men over 40 have lost their waistlines and their zest for life if they ever had it. They carry resentments, grudges and extra pounds in their basketball bellies. Perhaps a good part of that bloat is unhappiness. Even the thin ones look flabby somehow and deeply aggrieved. They nurse the smallest perceived slight longer than their double shots of Scotch. Surely our culture as much as biology turns them into softer, spongier, less-interesting versions of their youthful selves just at the point where women and black men and other minorities are emerging strong. Society overvalues the white man, leaving him angry and bitter when he realizes, around age 40, that he's not all that.

Halfway through the first glass of wine in my last date with a white man, I realized that little clouds of sadness and self-pity were regularly fluffing off his psyche like the dust clouds kicked up by that dirt-smudged "Peanuts" character as he walks through Charlie Brown's life. This guy was at least mildly depressed, and I wanted to tell him to exercise, lose weight, trim the combover and get interested in something outside himself. I would have walked out on him immediately, but he seemed to expect that. I couldn't deliver the blow to his ego proffered like the naked neck of a martyr to the ax. My Southern cousins would describe his general demeanor as a "hangdog air." Into the second glass of wine and glancing longingly at the exit, I wanted to hang that dog myself when he mentioned that his face was flushed. I hadn't noticedbecause he'd taken a Viagra "just in case."

What did he think would entice me more: That he assumed sex was probable because I'm a sex journalistor that he would need chemical help if sex did occur? I cannot even imagine a black man bungling an attempted seduction in such a sad way.

That was my last token white guy. I recently came out of my racial-preference closet and told my friends, "I love black men. I'm not attracted to white men over 40, and I'm not dating them anymore. Really, it's not them, it's me.

Mrs. Clinton, is that you? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26594923)

I thought Bill was looking rather pathetic lately. It's all so clear now.

For every day purposes (5, Funny)

WindowlessView (703773) | more than 5 years ago | (#26594083)

Does this make it less likely that my headphone wires won't automatically seek to form the most complex DNA strands in the universe?

Re:For every day purposes (5, Funny)

dov_0 (1438253) | more than 5 years ago | (#26594183)

No, but it will be possible to get the twists even tighter...

Re:For every day purposes (2, Insightful)

MikeUW (999162) | more than 5 years ago | (#26594511)

Serously - why did the above get modded as a troll?

Re:For every day purposes (2, Funny)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#26594619)

No, but there's a simple solution to that: stop wrapping your headphone wires around histones.

Re:For every day purposes (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26596043)

Well tell him to stop sticking his stones right in front of my wires.

Re:For every day purposes (1)

TheGavster (774657) | more than 5 years ago | (#26594631)

Hey, the nerdliest of headphone designers may make great sound, but their options for replicating their DNA leave them limited to the more eccentric solutions.

Re:For every day purposes (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 5 years ago | (#26594941)

Think bigger - let's use this to eliminate headphone wires altogether. Instead, the mp3 player is two globs of clay you squish into your ears for maximum sound isolation. You skip to the next song by gesturing with your head twice to the right as if to say, "move along."

Re:For every day purposes (1)

ani23 (899493) | more than 5 years ago | (#26595329)

two globs of clay easy to lose if one drops off straight through the subway grille. they need something to tether to. using head bad idea. not to mention you would look stupid. will have unintentional skips. repetitive stress injury lawsuits. try again

Re:For every day purposes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26595109)

Hundreds of IQ tests administered by every level of government and the US army f or the past 100 years shows that the average American Negro IQ is 15-20 points l ower than the average American Caucasian. Mulattoes like Obama outperform other Negroes on average, but still below Caucasians.

Among Negroes and Caucasians who graduate from college, their average is substan tially higher than their overall group averages. However, the IQ gap between Cau casian college graduates and Negro college graduates exceeds 20 points in most s tudies.

Re:For every day purposes (1)

GigaplexNZ (1233886) | more than 5 years ago | (#26596687)

I apologise for replying to a blatant troll, but perhaps the reason the Negro population have a lower IQ is because due to the discrimination in the past they weren't allowed a higher education? Cutting someones legs off and then claiming they are genetically inferior because they can't run very fast is pure ignorance.

Re:For every day purposes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26603369)

A person's education level has nothing to do with their IQ level, JACKASS!

One size (1)

gsgriffin (1195771) | more than 5 years ago | (#26595563)

fits all...now goes electronic!

Re:For every day purposes (1)

persicom (136940) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616051)

Here's some advice for you: The quote is:

Leave the gun; take the cannoli

No true Italian says "cannolis"

The Japanese are going to have a fit! (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26594187)

Screw body parts. Tentacles baby!

How many... (1, Insightful)

masshuu (1260516) | more than 5 years ago | (#26594235)

How many of these have come out in the past month? it seems like were being flooded with flexible chips and displays and electronics. at this point i don't care. all i want is an mp3 player thats as thin as a credit card and i can role up.

Re:How many... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26594251)

Those homonyms are a bitch aren't they?

Re:How many... (2, Insightful)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#26594641)

In other words you want them to skip all the intermediate stages of development and go right to the end. Hmm... that actually does sound pretty good.

Attention everyone: notify me when they've cured cancer, figured out if global warming is real or a hoax (and if real have solved it), and they have MP3s that are thin as a card and rollable. Until then, I'm going to be pouting in my room.

Re:How many... (1)

Arthur Grumbine (1086397) | more than 5 years ago | (#26595083)

I don't know about you, but my MP3's are already microscopically thin (the width of the bits on the platter)

Re:How many... (1)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#26595145)

I don't know about you, but my MP3's are already microscopically thin (the width of the bits on the platter)

Well, make it able to be rolled, cure cancer, and that global warming thing, and I might come out.

I did mean MP3 player I think...

Re:How many... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26600227)

Well, you can cross one item off your list. Global Warming is real. Definitely. 100%.

Solving it is another matter still unfortunately.

140% (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26594267)

>> ... body parts,

Not sure 140% will be enough but its a good start.

and the makers of (2, Funny)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#26594295)

pornographic fetishware rejoiced

Re:and the makers of (1)

Anthony_Cargile (1336739) | more than 5 years ago | (#26594393)

Same thing I thought after reading "stretchable electronics that can be wrapped around complex shapes". The glove comment also tipped me off, and I now fear that slashdotters may have an even lesser chance at obtaining a girlfriend with these devices floating around. Write an iPhone/Android app to communicate with it and human replication just took a massive hit!

Re:and the makers of (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 5 years ago | (#26594615)

Ah have no fear, stupid people will find the devices to hard to use. and will continue to breed like jack rabbits.

Re:and the makers of (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 5 years ago | (#26609857)

Someone will use it to try to create Terry McGinnis' Batsuit [wikipedia.org] .

This'll fix coiled cables? (2, Interesting)

BagOCrap (980854) | more than 5 years ago | (#26594307)

Shouldn't this be used for every type of cables? During the last couple of weeks, coiled USB cables have given me lots of grief. USB connected camera stands (used for passport pictures) keep being disconnected, but as soon as the cable has been straightened (5 meters), everything's fine.

Recently I had the same problem with a Cat5e cable at some other place; 5 meters, half of that from the IP phone to the wall; as soon as I straightened it up, the phone was able to connect.

Re:This'll fix coiled cables? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26594509)

Recently I had the same problem with a Cat5e cable at some other place; 5 meters, half of that from the IP phone to the wall; as soon as I straightened it up, the phone was able to connect.

That's because the 1's get stuck in the turns but the 0's make it through just fine...

Re:This'll fix coiled cables? (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 5 years ago | (#26594743)

Recently I had the same problem with a Cat5e cable at some other place; 5 meters, half of that from the IP phone to the wall; as soon as I straightened it up, the phone was able to connect.

That's because the 1's get stuck in the turns but the 0's make it through just fine...

Come on, no need to be so technically inaccurate in a forum like this! Inverted signaling is used, so it's the 0s that get stuck, and the 1s that get through without problem. Sheesh.

Re:This'll fix coiled cables? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26594833)

Come on, no need to be so technically inaccurate in a forum like this! Inverted signaling is used, so it's the 0s that get stuck, and the 1s that get through without problem. Sheesh.

But wait, when the 0's are inverted they become 1's right?

Re:This'll fix coiled cables? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26594785)

Sounds like you're just using shitty cables. Buy decent ones that can handle some stress and resist coiling up.

Re:This'll fix coiled cables? (1)

KingAlanI (1270538) | more than 5 years ago | (#26595393)

An Intellectual Property phone?
Got Beckerman on speed-dial or something?
Also, Valenti & co - making crank calls is good way to bust stress if you manage to mask your caller-ID. Not that I would *know* about any of *that*. :cool:

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26594339)

Maybe they will make a condom out of this?

Makes the space station wheel more likely. (2, Interesting)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#26594355)

I thought one of the deals holding up the big wheel spinning in space for artificial gravity - like the station in 2001 A Space Odyssey was connections between the core and the spinning part. Maybe somehow this will help.

Why this is important research (3, Insightful)

w0mprat (1317953) | more than 5 years ago | (#26594745)

Rolled up circuitry will allow for very dense electronics, which may turn out to be more practical than 3d-chips and other such advances. I've often wondered about finding a way to fold semi-conductors up like origami. If we are ever to have a nanotech revolution with smart machines tiny enough to float around our blood stream and other such applications for nanomachines, it's going to be necessary to package alot of processing power in to a small volume.

Consider that it is somewhat easier to print your circuitry in two dimensions, then to fold it up very small.

This is also helpful for making of smart materials, for example it'd be no use having a smart skin for a aircraft if fatigue and deformation destroys the circuitry within it.

Re:Makes the space station wheel more likely. (1)

DMUTPeregrine (612791) | more than 5 years ago | (#26594767)

Why just spin the wheel? Spin the whole station.

Re:Makes the space station wheel more likely. (1)

KlTheKiten (20181) | more than 5 years ago | (#26595727)

...because it's awfully hard to dock to a rotating station...

Re:Makes the space station wheel more likely. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26595501)

Makes the space station wheel more likely.

Nope.

There's this thing called magnetic flux. Transfering electricity without wires has been possible for a long time. You don't need flexible anything. You'd use air core transformers and AC motors to connect the wheel.

The actual problem is the wheel and station are connected, how do you make the wheel spin without the station turning the opposite way? (an equal and opposite reaction) The wheel has to have much less mass than the station. Even then, you're still transferring momentum from the station whenever you speed up the wheel, and the station's spin would have to be counteracted.

The best way to make the wheel spin, without spinning the rest of the station, is using jets of something like air instead of a motor. (or non-newtonian fluid or something you'd get friction from - I know it sounds counterintuitive) Enclose the wheel inside the station and the exhaust turbulence and friction can disperse the force as heat or expansion, instead of an opposite momentum.

Making "artificial gravity" by spinning a wheel, is a major waste. I hope no real astrophysicist would even consider it. Stations have so far only been in orbit over the Earth, which makes it unnecessary to worry about people dying from bone and muscle loss. During longer journeys in ships, it'd make a lot more sense to prevent bone and muscle loss with exercise.

Re:Makes the space station wheel more likely. (1)

GigaplexNZ (1233886) | more than 5 years ago | (#26596717)

The best way to make the wheel spin, without spinning the rest of the station, is using jets of something like air instead of a motor.

I disagree. I would spin two wheels in opposite directions such that the momentum would cancel out.

Re:Makes the space station wheel more likely. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26596741)

I thought one of the deals holding up the big wheel spinning in space for artificial gravity - like the station in 2001 A Space Odyssey was connections between the core and the spinning part. Maybe somehow this will help.

why not just spin the whole ship/station?

Re:Makes the space station wheel more likely. (1)

celtic_hackr (579828) | more than 5 years ago | (#26599243)

Right, a material that can stretch is going to be real useful in connecting to wires between a "stationary" object and an object spinning in multiple revolutions around said stationary object. Just like a rubberband on a toy airplane can stretch infinitely without breaking. Ugh.

NASA has known how to create AG at least 1952. A space craft designed to do this was to launch in 1977, but that program got scrapped. It is possible to created a spinning wheel around a stationary object. In fact you're using several right now in you PC. Namely your fans. In fact all motors use this magical missing component you speak of. If our bright scientists can't think of a way of making connections between a spinning wheel and a "stationary" object our astronauts and the space program are in deep trouble. Not all motors require an electrical connection. Any brushless motor works without making a connection. Making artificial gravity has long been solved. Why they didn't opt for an overall design allowing them to "gravitize" the whole station I don't know. I was certain the Japanese module for the Space Station included an artificial gravity area, but turns out it is just a centrifuge for doing small scale gravity experiments. There are other ways to make artificial or real gravity on a space station. Lastly, it is the general consensus that small fast wheels are preferable to large ones.

globe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26594431)

potential app1: LCD screen wrapped around a sphere showing a rotating globe / Jupiter, or stretched across the face of a mannequin so it will talk to you. neat-o.

potential app2: CCD sensor wrapped around a sphere recording panoramic images (Google street view)

At last! (3, Funny)

jcr (53032) | more than 5 years ago | (#26594623)

Just what I've been needing for my wi-fi enabled slinky.

-jcr

Re:At last! (1)

kbrasee (1379057) | more than 5 years ago | (#26594759)

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/photos/uncategorized/2008/11/25/slinky2.jpg [latimes.com]

The wi-fi slinky – so easy to use, even grandma's getting in on the fun!

Re:At last! (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 5 years ago | (#26595241)

Sounds like a business plan to me. Know any VCs?

-jcr

Re:At last! (1)

StuartHankins (1020819) | more than 5 years ago | (#26596225)

Actually I wonder how well a helix would work for an antenna at certain frequencies... I know very little about antennae except some strange-looking designs sometimes work very well... the Hoverman for instance.

I'll have to go buy an old-school Slinky or two and play with it.

Re:At last! (1)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 5 years ago | (#26607563)

Helical antennas [wikipedia.org] are quite common. They provide acceptable gain, but more importantly they are circularly polarized which is a great boon for receiving signals from tumbling spacecraft such as Amateur Radio Satellites [amsat.org] . A strange instance of a helical antenna is the Quadrifilar Helical [no-ip.com] antenna. This egg-beater shaped beast is perfect for receiving circularly-polarized signals (from weather sats, for instance). I had one cut for 70cm on my roof for a long time.

So this means I can finally be Dr. Octopus (2, Funny)

kbrasee (1379057) | more than 5 years ago | (#26594651)

Oddly enough, I was watching Spiderman 2 at the dentist's office today and thinking, "What I wouldn't give for the stretchable electronics and semiconductor nanomaterials that would allow me to have sweet electromechanical appendages like Dr. Octopus..." And then I go on Slashdot a few hours later, and find that my dream will soon be a reality!

In Ken Macleod's "Newton's Wake"... (2, Informative)

John Guilt (464909) | more than 5 years ago | (#26594685)

...a character has a pocket-sized screen that he enlarges by _stretching_ it. I think of this when browsing the Web on a mobile, especially iPhone-like devices with their stretching fingers-metaphor.

Stretchable slow electronics (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26594925)

The length of a wire is limited by the wavelength of the signal it must pass. The rule of thumb is that any conductor longer than 1% of that wavelength must be treated as a transmission line. A transmission line depends on its physical properties. If any of those properties changes then the characteristic impedance of the cable changes. When that happens, signals no longer pass as they should, they distort and reflect and generally provide misery.

With the above in mind, my WAG is that the clock rate of stretchable electronics will be limited to the low MHz.

Shock proof? (1)

john.picard (1440397) | more than 5 years ago | (#26594995)

I hope it prevents cell phones from breaking when dropped. Think of the effect that will have on landfills! Currently if you drop your cell phone, chances are some connection comes loose. Then the phone shuts down or malfunctions intermittently. What we need are electronic connections that don't break when a shock is received.

What cellphone (1)

Frankie70 (803801) | more than 5 years ago | (#26596813)

Currently if you drop your cell phone, chances are some connection comes loose.

What cell phone do you use? I have a cheap Nokia GSM phone - it's got a black & white screen,
no camera, no radio, no music player.
It's 2 years old - fallen on hard ground multiple times.
It's even fallen into a bucket of water ones.
It's working fine. Doesn't shutdown or malfunction.

Grammar Nazi (2, Informative)

Trebawa (1461025) | more than 5 years ago | (#26595635)

I know this is extremely grammar nazi-ish, but the article uses "e.g" where "i.e." is more appropriate. "e.g" stands for the Latin "exempli gratia", meaning "for example. "i.e.", on the other hand, stands for "id est", meaning "that is". Because the article gives the specific maximum values for stretchability and corkscrewing, rather than examples from a range of values, "i.e." should be used.

Tattoos! (1)

thered2001 (1257950) | more than 5 years ago | (#26595865)

Blend this with the flexible display technology and you'll have something I'll be willing to have embedded subcutaneously. (But please don't add any 'enhancements' like GPS, ID verification, or anything which would allow the government to monitor my whereabouts.)

e-newspapers? (1)

ExRex (47177) | more than 5 years ago | (#26595873)

Take a flexible OLED, back it with this flexible circuitry, add a flexible battery and you've got an electronic material which could really give paper a run for it's money. Is there flexible memory or storage yet?

Re:e-newspapers? (1)

MrMista_B (891430) | more than 5 years ago | (#26595945)

Well, I don't know about run for it's money. Can it be made cheaper than paper?

*That* is the true test.

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