stretchable circuits at stanford
chemical engineer zhenan bao and her team of stanford researchers have been developing the skin-like integrated circuits across nearly two decades. the array of circuits can successfully stretch, fold, bend, and twist, and then snap back each time. while the technology can take shape with a range of applications including wearable and implantable products, bao notes the one hurdle that has long stood in the way — ‘how does one produce a completely new technology in quantities great enough to make commercialization possible?’
images © yuqing zheng
zhenan bao and her stanford team propose a solution to the mass production of this stretchable circuit technology. the group illustrates in a news study a new method of printing integrated circuits that are at once stretchable and durable onto rubbery, skin-like materials. the method makes use of the same equipment used to produce solid silicon chips. in time, the achievement might help to transition the process for commercial use.
the stanford researchers fit over 40,000 transistors onto a single square centimeter of stretchable circuitry — for reference, billions of transistors that can be squeezed into the same area on silicon chips. the team predicts that it can soon accomplish double that number. this would be enough to create simple circuits for sensors applied on the skin or bioelectronics that can be implanted into the body.
project author: zhenan bao & team
designboom | architecture & design magazine