Michigan State University has developed a flexible smart fabric that could revolutionise technology
The breakthrough by researchers at Michigan State University raises the possibility of cheap, mass produced smart fabrics, which could in turn lead to a new generation of breathtaking – and affordable – elasticated technology.
Scientists weren't shy in suggesting what the development could mean – even creating a display the size of a wall.
Chuan Wang, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, said: "Our work could soon lead to printed displays that can easily be stretched to larger sizes, as well as wearable electronics and soft robotics applications."
Ideas include super thin tablet computers that can easily be stretched from pocket sized to wide screen, or wallpaper that could become a wall-size television or electronic display at the flick of a switch.
Other uses could include rubber band like wrist monitors for joggers, measuring heartrate or distance covered, ScienceDaily reported.
One of the biggest advantages to the new technology over existing flexible electronics is that it could realistically be folded, hugely reducing the risk of breakage.
Michigan State University assistant professor of Chuan Wang admires his work
The stretchable fabric could go on the market within one or two years
The smart fabric is made of nanomaterials dissolved in a solution to produce an electronic ink.
The ink is then run through a printer onto the fabric.
Wang and his team estimate the fabric could become commercially available in "one or two years" – once they manage to combine the stretchable circuit with a light-emitting diode into a single pixel.