When you think circuitry, you probably think of rigid resin chips, but circuits that have a little more give could allow electronics to be integrated into clothing or film, stretched over the skin or embedded inside the body. While these are usually expensive to produce, researchers at Michigan State University (MSU) have used a plain old inkjet printer to make stretchy circuits that could form the basis of smart fabrics.
Printable circuitry itself isn’t completely new either. MIT researchers created a kind of stamp that quickly makes the electronic food labels of the future, and a Georgia Tech team used off-the-shelf equipment to print test circuits onto paper and PET film. But the MSU study marks the first time electronics could be both printable and stretchable.
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