Researchers Discover a Way to Transform Smartphones with Flexible Electronics Technology and Save More Lives than Ever

Smartphones

Health and smartphones often find a connection with each other, and it typically paints a bleak picture. But now scientists have found a way to use smartphones and the flexible electronics technology to improve a chance to save more lives.

Researchers at Purdue University have developed a “radical” technology to make various electronic appliances, such as smartphones, more pliable and make them more suitable for health monitoring applications. The team of researchers has designed an innovative polymer film with the outer texture like glass, which can conduct electricity and can transform the designs of modern electronic devices.

Researchers and chemical engineers at Purdue state that the polymer can be manufactured in greater volumes, using naturally and abundantly available materials, which makes the whole process sustainable yet inexpensive. Long molecular chains with at least one unpaired electron, which enables the polymer to conduct electricity when used in transparent and flexible electronic devices, are used to make this polymer film.

The discovery of the new polymer film is a remarkable victory, as we could match the mechanical properties of these earth-abundant components that form the base for the polymer. We also found a way to improve the quality of electronic display screen of modern electronic appliances by avoiding catastrophic operational failures with the use of the new polymer film,” said Bryan Boudouris, the lead researcher.

Researchers are concentrating their efforts on discovering tailor-made sensors using the new polymer film that can help patients to monitor various biomedical metrics, such as heart rate and glucose levels, non-invasively. The molecules and specific ions of the polymer film could be modified and the film can be worn by users as a nearly invasive patch to enable it to interact with biological components inside the body.

 “It is a plastic is super transparent and can conduct electricity. It exhibits remarkable stability to water, air, and moisture. Though it is not as conductive as ITO (Indium Tin Oxide) or other rigid plastics that are commonly used to manufacture modern smartphones, it is much cheaper,” said Brett Savoie, a senior member of the research team, in a video posted on Purdue’s YouTube channel. “The innovative polymer film also serves as the main platform of research by scientists at Materials Innovation for Bioelectronics from Intrinsically-stretchable Organics (Mi-Bio) center at Purdue University, Savoie added.

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