Researchers at the National University of Singapore (NUS) have developed a “smart” form of plastic that could revolutionise the field of wearable electronic devices.
The material, polyethylene terephthalate (PET), is flexible enough to be shaped without compromising the performance of the embedded electronics. To test this, the group inserted a powerful magnetic memory chip into a strip of PET and tested its performance levels. The results were ‘unprecedented’, in regards to data storage and processing.
“It’s like a car having extraordinary levels of horsepower,” said Associate Professor Yang Hyunsoo, who led the research, about the experiment’s results.
The Singaporean-based team worked in collaboration with counterparts from the Yonsei University (South Korea), Ghent University (Belgium) and the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (Singapore).
It is hoped that this breakthrough could lead to advancements in the design of wearable gadgets and healthcare devices.
“Flexible electronics will become the norm in the near future, and all new electronic components should be compatible with flexible electronics,” Yang said.
“We are the first team to fabricate magnet memory on a flexible surface, and this significant milestone gives us the impetus to further enhance the performance of flexible memory devices and contribute toward the flexible electronics revolution.”
The researchers have stated that they are interested in working with industrial partners to explore further ways of incorporating their breakthrough into new and existing technologies.
The medical sector could benefit from this advancement in high-performance, flexible electronics as crucial biomedical devices are increasingly required to offer various functions such as data storage and wireless communications.
However, this discovery could also be used to great effect in the automotive, robotic and military applications.
Yang and his team have recently been granted patents in both the United States and South Korea.