6) Self-Healing Electrical Circuit Made Of Conductive Hybrid Gel –
A team of researchers at the University of Texas have successfully created a self-healing electrical circuit that can not only repair itself, but also restore its own conductivity when broken into two pieces. The incredible attributes of this futuristic technology are by virtue of a pliant hybrid gel that combines two separate gel types into a single scope. These two gel types pertain to an arrangement where a ‘guest’ supramolecular gel (or ‘supergel’) is injected into a ‘host’ matrix of a conductive polymer hydrogel. To that end, the supergel accounts for the self-healing aspect of the circuit with its property of reversibility (with larger molecular structures). On the other hand, the polymer hydrogel improves the conductivity of the circuit – with its three-dimensional nanostructure that aids the flow of electrons.
As for the testing phase of this futuristic technology, the scientists did manage to place thin films of this hybrid gel on flexible plastic substrates (‘wafers’) – and the results were pretty impressive. More importantly, as we mentioned before, the electrical circuit could heal itself even after being broken into two pieces. These factors have encouraged the researchers to continue on developing ‘better’ versions of such gels with greater strength and flexibility – thus alluding to the possibility of commercial manufacturing.
7) Smart Fabric That Doubles As A Personal, Wearable Air Conditioner –
Scientists from the University of California, San Diego, have devised a smart fabric that could keep the wearer’s body within a comfortable temperature range. Touted as the ATTACH, i.e. Adaptive Textiles Technology with Active Cooling and Heating, the three-year project entails a highly-sensitive textile that can regulate the body temperature irrespective of the external state of hotness or coldness. This maintenance of the ambient temperature (around 93 degrees F) is achieved via the integration of special polymers that have the capacity to alter the fabric’s insulation level. In other words, the polymers can change the thickness and porosity of the fabric in accordance to the prevalent micro-climatic condition.
Furthermore, the researchers are looking forth to incorporate a set of supplementary heating and cooling systems, known as thermoelectrics in this futuristic technology. These printable components can deal with the ‘hot-spots’, like underneath our feet or our back portion. Interestingly, the scientists have also envisioned their futuristic technology to be self-powered, with ATTACH being ‘juiced up’ with the aid of rechargeable batteries and specially-engineered biofuel cells that utilize human sweat to generate usable energy.
8) Spacecraft Launching System Driven By Microwave –
According to a recent press release of Escape Dynamics (ED), the company had successfully tested the prototype of a new spaceship engine system that utilizes high-energy microwaves, beamed from the ground, to propel the shuttle into the stratosphere. Now, in terms of conventional technology, our current launch systems use multi-stage rockets that consume huge volumes of propellants for the generation of the crucial thrust. Moreover, beyond just the high costs involved, each launching procedure also deals with over thousand pounds of explosives. However, the futuristic technology in question here eschews most of the on-board power systems. Instead high-energy microwaves are wirelessly transmitted from a ground-based emitter or thruster (via phase array), and these beams accumulate at a heat shield located on the spacecraft’s rear end. The received power in turn is used to activate a specially-designed electromagnetic motor, which then helps to ignite the hydrogen released from the tank.
As for actual testing, the prototype engine showcased some impressive figures with its Specific Impulse (Isp) – a measurement of fuel efficiency, going beyond 500 seconds when fueled by helium. And with hydrogen, the number can go up to 600 seconds, which is 30 percent more than chemical rockets. Now of course, the futuristic technology is still in its nascent stage, with scientists trying to find a solution that would work around the potential environmental issue of releasing high amounts of microwaves into the atmosphere.
9) Stretchable Color-Changing E-Skin, Inspired By The Chameleon –
Inspired by the chameleon, researchers at the Stanford University have devised a new stretchable electronic skin (e-skin) that can automatically change its color depending on the varying degrees of pressure applied on its surface. This e-skin is primarily composed of two components – a flexible micro-structured polymer and a stretchable electrochromic polymer. So in terms of working scope, the micro-structured polymer (connected to a low-voltage power supply) reduces its electrical resistance when applied with pressure; and this in turn increases the voltage to the electrochromic polymer. The resultant oxidization effect slightly alters the chemical structure of this layer, thus changing the material’s light absorption spectrum. This pressure-induced futuristic technology leads to changing of colors of the material, while it can also be reversed on release of the pressure.
So, the question naturally arises – how is this e-skin different from the other color-changing materials that have been created up till now? Well, the greatest advantage of this combined-polymer material relates to its stretchable property, which is not found in comparable technologies. Furthermore, this advantage of the futuristic technology is complemented by the easy touch-sensitive nature of the process. Such aspects in turn pertain to a range of potential applications, including wearable devices and even futuristic camouflage for smart robots.
10) Transmission Of Wireless Data Via Human Body –
Another fascinating futuristic technology from the researchers at University of California, San Diego, encompasses a new communication scope that utilizes magnetic signals, sent through the human body, to wirelessly transmit data between two wearable electronic devices. In essence, the body will act as the central vehicle for conveying magnetic energy between a pair of electronic devices. This ambit does have its advantage over Bluetooth technology, since Bluetooth uses radio waves, a type of electromagnetic radiation that gets blocked by biological tissues of our body. In practical circumstances, when such a scenario occurs, the device tends to consume more power, in order to circumvent the obstacle and then allow the signals to pass through. The problem is further exacerbated in small wearables that already have tiny batteries, thus making them significantly less energy-efficient.
On the other hand, magnetic fields can easily permeate through the human body – which alludes to much lower power consumption in case of this futuristic technology. In fact, the scientists have already constructed a fully-functioning prototype, containing insulated copper wires attached to an external analyzer at one end and folded in coils around a part of the body at the other. And, for those who are already raising their eyebrows about signals going through our body, such forms of non-ionizing, weak magnetic fields do not have any health effect on our tissues (including cancerous growths). Moreover, the communication ‘lines’ can be made more secure since the intricacy of the human body is far less vulnerable to digital eavesdropping.