SMT007 Magazine

SMT-Feb2016

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38 SMT Magazine • February 2016 Engineering, CCA, cables, and system integra- tion is an attractive mix for the OEM in seeking a supply partner with deeper relationships. Par- titioning sub-systems with multiple suppliers can lead to sub-optimization and system level inefficiencies. Labor Wages We have seen the average wage for Asian workers trending up as money has been pour- ing into the system, particularly in the larger manufacturing centers. This is taking some of the edge off their competitiveness and opening up opportunities for regional markets around the world. Logistics, travel, politics, shipping inventory, taxation, and the value of the U.S. dollar around the world have a larger impact than lower labor rates. The shops that are agile and efficient are busy. The others are waiting for a time gone by. SMT Gary Tanel is the vice president for business development at McDonald Technologies and a member of the SMT Magazine Editorial Advisory Board. Healthcare practitio- ners may one day be able to physically screen for breast cancer using pressure-sensitive rub- ber gloves to detect tu- mors, owing to a trans- parent, bendable and sensitive pressure sen- sor newly developed by Japanese and American teams. Conventional pres- sure sensors are flexible enough to fit to soft sur- faces such as human skin, but they cannot measure pressure changes accurately once they are twisted or wrinkled, making them unsuitable for use on complex and moving surfaces. Additionally, it is difficult to reduce them below 100 micrometers thickness because of limitations in current produc- tion methods. To address these issues, an international team of researchers led by Dr. Sungwon lee and pro- fessor Takao Someya of the university of Tokyo's graduate School of Engineering has developed a nanofiber-type pressure sensor that can measure pressure distribution of rounded surfaces such as an inflated balloon and maintain its sensing accu- racy even when bent over a radius of 80 microm- eters, equivalent to just twice the width of a hu- man hair. The sensor is roughly 8 micrometers thick and can measure the pressure in 144 lo- cations at once. The device demon- strated in this study con- sists of organic transis- tors, electronic switches made from carbon and oxygen based organic materials, and a pres- sure sensitive nanofiber structure. Carbon nanotubes and graphene were added to an elastic polymer to create nanofibers with a diameter of 300 to 700 nanometers, which were then entangled with each other to form a transparent, thin and light porous structure. "We've also tested the performance of our pressure sensor with an artificial blood vessel and found that it could detect small pressure changes and speed of pressure propagation," says Lee. He continues, "Flexible electronics have great poten- tial for implantable and wearable devices. I real- ized that many groups are developing flexible sen- sors that can measure pressure but none of them are suitable for measuring real objects since they are sensitive to distortion. That was my main mo- tivation and I think we have proposed an effective solution to this problem." Flexible and Transparent Pressure Sensor cHalleNges aNd oPPortuNities For smaller ems For oNsHoriNg

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