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Bringing together rigid and soft electronics

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Category: research Video duration: Bringing together rigid and soft electronics
In the lab of Michael Bartlett, new developments are being made in the realm of integrating rigid and soft electronics. The electrically conductive liquid metal adhesive is so good, you can run over it with a car and it still works!
Soft electronics are an emerging area where we can create devices that are soft and stretchable like human skin. However, there are also great advances in the technology of rigid electronics. The things that we see in your phone and your laptop. If we can combine these soft electronics with these rigid electronics, it will allow us to create these hybrid devices that are both robust and incredibly functional. The way that we do this is we take a soft polymer material and inside that material we embed droplets of liquid metal as well as flakes made of silver. This allows us to create a material which is electrically conductive as well as strongly adhesive. This allowed us to create a device that you could flex multi times and fold it into tight scrolls while still remaining completely functional. And it has a lot of benefits in the ways we can integrate it because we can 3D print it, we can also use stencils to put it down in patterns and put it in really any kind of circuit we need for soft, stretchable, or flexible circuits. To take this to the next level, We actually took this material in a film form. We set it down on the road and we drove a car over it. Before and after the car drove over it, the material continued to function just normally. This opens up a lot of new exciting applications to things like wearable electronics. Even implantable electronics, things that monitor your health. A lot of new applications emerge, and we can take robust soft electronics and combine them with rigid, state- of-the-art microchips.