Scientists are clever people aren’t they?  They research and develop all kinds of wonderful tech for use in the real world by people like you and me.  I have no idea how this next innovation will be used but the possibilities are going to be far reaching, from medical to clothing I expect.  Scientists in Switzerland have created electronic chips so flexible they can be wrapped around a human hair.

The technique entails constructing an electronic circuit on top of a sandwich of polyvinyl layers balanced on a hard base.  The wafer is then placed in water, which dissolves two of the polyvinyl layers and causes the base to be released, sinking to the bottom of the dish.  The remaining circuit is embedded on a light, transparent non-soluble polymer film called parylene that is just a millionth of a metre or one micrometre thick.

Flexible Chips

The created transistors continue to work even when wrapped around a human hair, which in case you didn’t know, is approximately 50 micrometres thick, according to the research published in the journal Nature Communications.

If these Ultraflexible electronics can be achieved by dissolving a polymer layer and releasing a thin polymer film from a host substrate, then the ultra-bendable chip may have medical uses and has before now been actually tested on an artificial eye in laboratory conditions.  The experimental chip was added to a contact lens to act as a monitor for glaucoma, in which pressure builds up dangerously in the eyeball, the team has said.

The invention also has many other potential outlets, from “flexible solar cells to wearable bio-sensors”, they said.  The electronics “can be transferred on any object, surface and on biological tissues like human skin and plant leaves,” according to the study led by Giovanni Salvatore at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich.

[Image via ibmresearchnews]