Bendable Smartphone Technology Can Also Save Lives
Purdue University is developing a new technology that will make smartphones and other electronic devices bendable. The glass-like polymer is designed for transparent and flexible electronics.
The same polymer film that could be used as a smartphone screen could also be used to help save lives through better health monitoring.
The technology is a glass-like polymer that conducts electricity. The polymer is made from long chains of molecules that contain at least one unpaired electron. This innovative polymer film looks like glass and feels like glass, but is bendable, inexpensive and sustainably produced on a large scale because it originates from earth-abundant materials.
Other types of polymers are used for electronics already. However, Purdue’s version is more cost-effective than others because of the expensive chemistry and chemical doping needed to achieve high conductivity.
How will this polymer help save lives?
The Materials Innovation for Bioelectronics from Intrinsically-stretchable Organics (Mi-Bio) center research team based at Purdue is also interested in this new polymer. The research team is working to create tailor-made sensors from the polymer, which could non-invasively monitor glucose levels, heart rate, and other biomedical metrics. Patients could wear the sensors as nearly invisible patches on the skin.
The Purdue team is leveraging chemical flexibility of materials to create life-changing and potentially life-saving technology.