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Cheap electronic skin edges us closer to cyberpunk future

Peter Cohen, @flargh
December 15, 2011
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Researchers working for the Department of Energy's Berkeley Lab have figured out how to create relatively inexpensive "electronic skin" comprising carbon nanotubes enriched with semiconductors. Their process involves an enriched single walled carbon nanotube (SWNT) solution embedded in a honeycomb pattern of hexagonal holes to make it more flexible and stretchable - it's so limber, they wrapped it around a baseball, as you can see in the photo above. Combined with inkjet printing of electrical contacts, the technology paves the way for making flexible, wearable computers and a host of other cool things that William Gibson and other cyberpunk authors thought of back in the 1980s: smart bandages, flexible solar cells and electronic skin that can sense touch. Bring on the Zeiss eye implants and neural interface jacks!

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