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108 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I JUNE 2021 computers, which have probably come as close as anything to the infamous communicator of Star Trek. e series drew in inventors—peo- ple who think outside the box. Heck, most true inventors with futuristic thinking don't even know there is a design box. One such futuris- tic past genius, Leonardo DaVinci, comes to mind. Over the years, one future invention which is close to reality is Scottie's transparent alu- minum water tank. Aluminum oxynitride— ALON—is being tested in R&D as it is lighter and stronger than traditional aluminum and it is visibly clear. It was featured in one movie as a container needed to protect the last pregnant whale and save the earth. e entire body of Star Trek television and movie series, with its many, many shows, was always trying to teach us to invent, create, and think of new technologies. However, it also showed humanity was needed and par- amount to our future success. Sometimes, I wonder if we could have learned more from the series. FLEX007 John Talbot is president of Tramonto Circuits. To read past columns or contact Talbot, click here. Researchers have developed printable inks that enable high-performance inkjet-printed electronic circuits, providing a pathway to wearable devices. The advantage of producing electronics based on inks is that they are flexible, allowing them to be used in wearable devices like health monitors, body warmers, radio frequency antennas, and electronic textile displays. The circuits produced by the new electronic inks, which are based on two-dimensional materials, per- formed as well as commercial organic semiconduc- tors, which are used for applications including next- generation LEDs and solar panels. Inks that can be printed can also be easily mass- produced, reducing their cost. However, current printable electronics tends to be unstable in air and lack the high performance of organic semiconduc- tors, which could show electrical properties similar to those achieved in standard silicon technologies such as microchips. The printable semiconducting inks developed by the team shows superior electrical properties—such as high electron mobility—and air stability, while preserving the versatility of the printing technology. This is significant step toward low-cost high-perfor- mance printed and wearable electronics. The team has so far shown they can print semi- conductors—materials that can both conduct and insulate electric charge, depending on the local properties and conditions of the material. Co-author Professor Roman Sordan, from Politecnico di Milano, said, "Our result represents a first step in the integration of inkjet printed n-type 2D transistors and p-type organic transis- tors into complementary logic gates which are the backbone of modern digital electronics. We hope this brings us closer to cheap and widely available wearable devices." (Source: Imperial College London) Printable Circuits Bring Low-cost, High-performance Wearables a Step Closer

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