New Electronics Can Stretch, Fold

Bendable circuits perform as well as rigid circuitry
By Laila Weir,  Newser User
Posted Mar 28, 2008 1:42 PM CDT
The IBM "Wearable ThinkPad" prototype. Wearable computers are among the potential applications for bendable electronics.   (KRT Photos)
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(Newser) – New research showing that it’s possible to make stretchable, bendable complex electrical circuits could open the door to wearable computers and to health-monitoring systems that can be implanted, Technology Review reports. Previous bendable circuitry was too slow for complex computing, but the new circuits, of ultra-thin silicon on plastic or rubber, perform as well as traditional rigid ones.

Researchers from the University of Illinois and Northwestern University said they’ve made two kinds of circuits, one foldable and the other stretchable. The foldable circuits, made on plastic, are optimized to work as well as inflexible circuits. The team is still working to fully optimize the stretchable ones, made on rubber.