News Report: Flexible Electronics
IMAGINE IF YOUR IPHONE COULD LITERALLY FOLD OUT INTO AN IPAD. SCIENTISTS AT THE UNIVERSITY’S MATERIALS RESEARCH INSTITUTE ARE INVESTIGATING JUST HOW CLOSE WE MAY BE TO THAT REALITY. FLEXIBLE ELECTRONICS ARE ELECTRONIC DEVICES THAT CAN BE BENT AND STRETCHED INTO SHAPES WITHOUT INFERENCE. PENN STATE BEGAN THEIR RESEARCH ON FLEXIBLE ELECTRONICS IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE DOW CHEMICAL CORPORATION IN THE FALL OF 2011.
ONE OF THE RESEARCHERS, ENRIQUE GOMEZ, IS AN ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF CHEMICAL ENGINEERING AT PENN STATE.
“In a sense, it’s thought to be a precursor to the electronics revolution. That’s all enabled by being able to build micro electronics, which don’t have to fit into a flat rigid chip,” Gomez says.
FLEXIBLE ELECTRONICS MAY ALSO BE LESS EXPENSIVE TO MAKE THEN TYPICAL STIFF CIRCUIT BOARD TECHNOLOGY. THEY WOULD ALSO BE LESS INVASIVE THAN CLASSIC ELECTRONICS AND COULD LITERALLY BE PLACED INTO THE BODIES OF ORGAN RECIPIENTS AND CANCER PATIENTS TO KEEP TRACK OF THEIR PROGRESS.
Gomez adds, “The products that they see coming into the horizon is the idea that you could buy a phone that folds out to form essentially a tablet. There’s a potential that flexible electronics can really redefine the way in which we think about electronics.”
ALTHOUGH RESEARCHERS CANNOT GIVE A SPECIFIC YEAR, THEY OPTIMISTICALLY PREDICT THAT FLEXIBLE ELECTRONICS COULD BECOME A REALITY WITHIN THE DECADE. FOR COMRADIO NEWS, I’M EMILY BURKE.