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American Association for the Advancement of Science

Bend me, stretch me, connect me

A picture of a rubber-like stretchable transistor active matrix using elastic conductors. [Image courtesy of Science/AAAS]

Ever wish you could roll up your TV or computer and carry it in your backpack? Play with a robot that moves its limbs like a human does? Researchers are thinking about how to build all kinds of bendy, stretchy electronic devices, but first they're going to need a bendy, stretchy material that can conduct electricity.

A team of Japanese scientists has now created just this kind of material.

Tsuyoshi Sekitani of the University of Tokyo and colleagues mixed a batch of carbon nanotubes long, carbon molecules that can conduct electricity into a rubbery polymer mixture.

Then, they used this stretchy material to connect a grid of tiny devices called transistors, which regulate the flow of an electric current. This system could be used to make bendable electronic integrated circuits, which are used in virtually all electronic equipment.

This research appears in the 8 August issue of the journal Science.