Nanotextures solve a historic problem
Nanotexturing that prevents scale forming on the inside of pipes can reduce plant maintenance costs significantly
The new printing technique generates circuits that can be used for smart packaging and do not require external power sources to operate.
It's been a few years since print media began to be digitized, but a technology developed at Purdue University could take the trend even further. Thanks to the technology that has just rolled out of their labs, any paper surface can become a number or music keyboard. The advancement opens the door to notebooks or packaging with interactive touch-screen features. Also, the resulting paper is hydrophobic.
The team has created a system that does not require an external power source since it generates electricity employing vertical pressure sensors, thanks to the so-called triboelectric energy. Its inventors claim that it is the first electronic device on paper capable of this. Behind this project, there are several technologies involved. Firstly, the researchers have created a paper that repels water, dust, and grease through a cover of highly fluorinated molecules. Materials with this quality are known as omniphobic. Later, after creating this new support, they manage to print circuit layers on the paper without the ink getting smudged thanks to a patented process.
One of the essential advantages of this technology project is its compatibility with industrial printing processes, thus enabling smart packaging production. One of the applications is that a package can be signed by running your finger through the paper. It would also be possible to create notebooks that include a musical keyboard since researchers have demonstrated the viability of introducing volume controls or piano keys, as can be seen in this video.
Purdue University's paper keyboard is one more example of the numerous applications of the triboelectric effect, which is fundamentally based on the exchange of charges by contact between materials. The fact that it works through pressure and movement makes it the ideal candidate to feed the new wave of wearables that will begin to arrive on the market over the next few years. In this way, smart fabrics will be able to offer functionalities only through our daily movements. And even those smart garments can multiply their potential thanks to other emerging technologies such as machine learning.
When we talk about socks, rather than exciting smart clothes, we think of an unimaginative Christmas present or a nondescript functional accessory. But the socks that have been presented in an article in the scientific magazine Nature are far from that. The new smart clothing, taking advantage of the triboelectric effect, can transmit information about the wearer's movement. Paired with IoT technologies, artificial intelligence, and machine learning, these socks can identify and transmit up to five types of activity and gait with 96.67% accuracy.
These socks require little energy to operate and, according to their inventors, have a very low manufacturing cost. The only problem is that you will not be able to wear them at the moment, as they are in the prototype phase. However, it is not unreasonable that they join a constellation of smart clothes to control our health and vital signs. Simply by dressing up in the morning.
Source: Science Daily