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December 16, 2011 at 2:52 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Title = Obscure 80's Sci-Fi Reference

By E.M. Wollof from SLN More Blogs by This AuthorFrom the The Cold Boot Blog Series

Get ready to travel to a world full of crazy heads of hair and far-out ideas about the year 2000. Boot it up...Tron style!

Super Stretchy Pants

Researchers from the Department of Energy's Berkeley Lab, using semiconductor-enriched carbon nanotubes, have laid the groundwork for creating large-scale, flexible, inexpensive, thin-film transistor "electric skin." Yes, you heard correctly. All of you who used to dream of the day when you could be covered in futuristic computer skin that responded to your every wish and whim, your day is fast approaching.

The carbon nano-tube that the electric skin is made from is similar in strength to graphene, meaning that it is very strong but remains flexible, making it a perfect candidate for the transistors. The nano-tube naturally forms in metallic and a semi-conductor respectively, but the mixture of these two doesn't conduct electricity at a level that would make the concept viable. In order to do so, the researchers had to purify a solution of carbon nanotubes so that 99% were the semi-conductor form.

The next portion of the process involves information far above your pay grade, needless to say the end result was a thin-film, active matrix of transistors plugged into a computer to create a 96-pixel, 24-square centimeter pressure sensor. Translation = Awesome.

New Apps

Now, for those of you uber-concerned about how this will apply to medical technologies, unravel your pants for a bit and listen up. This technology can be directly applied to a wound as an "intelligent bandage" that can tell a doctor when the bandage needs changing or if the wound is infected. Some of the polymers created are even usable inside the body. Imagine a pacemaker that doesn't replace the heart, but actually wraps around it and improves its strength! Want some at home implications? What about a foil that actually tells you when your food is spoiling...boom. Flexible solar cells for any product that requires energy in your home...boom.

Here's to a boot in the future face my fellow sci-fi freaks, see you next week...

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Next:The 2011 Tech RevolutionPreviously:Going Beyond the Game

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