Flexible Battery, Self Healing Microchip and Robots
Technews in the MakingYou can bend it and stretch it to three times its size. It is not the latest in yoga pants; it's a battery made of lithium-ion cells wired onto a stretchable material. An article from the University of Illinois reports that adding flexibility to batteries was especially challenging because unlike other electronics, it's difficult to scale down cell dimensions without significantly reducing performance. This research suggests a breakthrough in that challenge. Immediate applications might be medical implants such as heart monitors and bionic eyes.
The Battery That Bends and Stretches
Self-Healing MicrochipsIf a few adult brain cells are damaged (what we call a great weekend), the brain compensates by creating pathways using some of the other hundred billion neurons in the brain: a capability referred to as neuroplasticity. Microchips can contain over 100,000 transistors that form information pathways similar to neural networks. But microchips do not share the same ability to self-repair, or work around damaged area, until now. According to an article in Tech News Daily researchers at Caltech (California Institute of Technology) have developed a chip with an ASIC processor that could locate damaged transistors and determine alternative processing routes. Today the chip would simply fail, but the researchers hope their research is a major step toward the next generation of robust processors that are fault tolerant.
How Microchips Can Heal
Touchy Feely RobotsSurgeons rely on the sense of touch more than most of us think – differentiating healthy and diseased tissue, for example. Robots used in surgery can't really feel, but researchers have been developing tactile feedback technology, or haptic technology, for years to give robots the ability to acquire information through touching. That information is communicated back to the robot operator through "tactile feedback" such as a push-back if the robot is sensing a different in density or tension. The technology has potential applications in other areas such as nuclear accident response and bomb detonation.
How Robots Can Feel
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