'Transformative electronics' increase the potential of wearable and implantable sensors
Our clothes are getting smarter – sometimes fitted with wearable sensors that measure our fitness and health. Yet the choice of circuitry inside is often limited to 'soft' or 'hard' – restricting their potential uses or their durability. Here, a new method creates circuits that switch from hard to soft (and back again) – a change in temperature turns this circuit board from stiff and flat (top row), to soft and stretchy (bottom). The secret to these ‘transformative electronic systems’ is the gallium inside – rigid at room temperature, but stretching out when the raised above 29.8°C. Gallium is non-toxic, so these systems may be ideal for devices that work inside the human body as well as outside – such as a neural probe that becomes softer on contact with brain tissue.
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