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LiveLeak.com - Super Thin And Flexible Circuits Clear The Way For Truly Wearable Computers

A wispy new kind of electronic circuit that can conform to every shape your body takes could give amputees greater control over artificial limbs, spawn truly controller-free video gaming, and make wearable devices like fitness trackers and computers so unnoticeable we never bother taking them off.

electronics continue to get smaller, faster, and smarter, but they are still brittle and rigid enough to notice when you put them in your pocket. From phones to insulin pumps, tech is still bulky and heavy enough to notice.

A team of Japanese and European scientists working out of the University of Tokyo have developed an ultra-thin, flexible electronic circuit that floats like a feather and can be crumpled like paper.

"Now, you can wrap electronics not just around maybe a ball pen, but even around a human hair," project leader Martin Kaltenbrunner told Business Insider in an email. "Our sensor foils can easily conform even to wrinkles of skin and be wrapped around the elbow or finger knuckles that steadily move, and still work perfectly."

It could clear the way for innovations like ultra-sensitive "smart" skin that can collect information about the body and environment, highly responsive artificial limbs, and extremely badass video game controllers. It works in wet environments too, so you can wear it all day — even in the shower.

The invention is a huge step in the quest to develop electronics that seamlessly integrate with the human body and the environment. Medical devices thinner than plastic wrap can be placed anywhere on the body, even, as the researchers demonstrate in the video below, comfortably on the roof of the mouth. They say circuits inside the mouth could help people with speech difficulties.

It could also make consumer electronics devices more intimate and effective. Popular fitness devices like FitBit, Jawbone UP, and Basis Band are bracelets, watches, or pods that are clunky to wear (especially when sleeping) and easy to lose. They are also worn only on one part of the body, so they are modest in what they can measure, and are often suspected of being inaccurate.

Wrapping circuits around several parts of the body would allow users to collect more data on everything from body temperature to information from the environment, like solar exposure or wind chill.

 

The circuits could also be used to make human-like skin for robots, or robot-like skin for humans.

The study appeared July 24 in the journal Nature.

There are other flexible electronic devices out there, but this is by far the thinnest and most bendable. It remained functional even when researchers crumpled the sheet like paper.

Even with the circuits, the sheets are 1/5 the thickness of common kitchen wrap and 30 times lighter than paper. If laid onto a thin sheet of rubber, the circuits can also be stretched.

When placed on the hand the foil follows the contours of wrinkles in the skin without cracking or disrupting the circuits.

Because the circuits are cheap to make, the researchers say that obtaining them may be as easy as a trip to the corner store. The team doesn't have any specific plans to license or market the technology yet, but we might be seeing it in three to five years, Kaltenbrunner said in an email.

"Because manufacturing costs of organic electronics are potentially low, imperceptible electronic foils may be as common in the future as plastic wrap is today," the scientists wrote.

Jeannine Huffman's insight:

...it has it's own beauty 

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The STEM Crisis is a Myth: An Ongoing Discussion - IEEE Spectrum

The STEM Crisis is a Myth: An Ongoing Discussion - IEEE Spectrum | dream. design. make. | Scoop.it
Throughout the month of September, we'll provide continuing coverage and debate

Via Sylvia Martinez
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Is it?

 

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The Stunning Symbiosis between Math and Knitting [Slide Show]

The Stunning Symbiosis between Math and Knitting [Slide Show] | dream. design. make. | Scoop.it

Via Susan Einhorn
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Susan Einhorn's curator insight, February 27, 2014 3:05 PM

Knitting, math, algorithms, patterns, coding ....interesting connections.

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Computational Thinking in Primary Schools

Music, poetry and art aren’t on the curriculum to train future musicians, poets and artists; they are there because all should have an entitlement to a liberal education which includes these elements. The same applies to programming: we teach it because it’s interesting and important, not just because it’s useful. The real interest, importance and utility though lies with computational thinking, which seems much more important than learning to code. That said, learning to code may well be the best way start thinking computationally.


Via Susan Einhorn
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Paul Herring's curator insight, March 25, 2014 7:34 PM
Some good thoughts here: ‘A high-quality computing education equips pupils to use computational thinking and creativity to understand and change the world’. ... For me, computational thinking is about looking at problems or systems in a way that considers how computers could be used to help solve or model these."
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How to Get a Job at Google

Hint: Getting hired is not about your G.P.A. It’s about what you can do and what you know.

 

The world only cares about - and pays off on - what you can do with what you know (and it doesn't care how you learned it). And in an age when innovation is increasingly a gropu endeavor, it also cares about a lot of soft skills- leadership, humility, collaboration, adaptability and loving to learn and re-learn. This will be true no matter where you go to work.

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Making in Memphis | Making Thinking Happen

Making in Memphis | Making Thinking Happen | dream. design. make. | Scoop.it
... Design (AbD) research project has helped me understand that developing a sensitivity to the design of objects is an elemental part of maker education. Co-facilitating an AbD workshop on this theme at a national conference ...
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From tinkerer to engineer with DiscoverE » Laughing at Chaos

From tinkerer to engineer with DiscoverE » Laughing at Chaos | dream. design. make. | Scoop.it
He knows he loves to tinker and hack and create, he just hasn't quite made the connection that that's what engineers do. The kid has so many inventor's notebooks that he has started to catalog them. Engineering is his calling.
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The Lego Standard: Combining Building Sets to Make Better Projects

The Lego Standard: Combining Building Sets to Make Better Projects | dream. design. make. | Scoop.it
It comes as no surprise, therefore, that we have adapted our maker experiences to include Lego.
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Dale Dougherty Introducing Make a Makerspace Conference

Dale Dougherty Introducing Make a Makerspace Conference | dream. design. make. | Scoop.it
As this weekend's conference on How to Make a Makerspace is getting started, I had a chance to speak briefly with Dale Dougherty. He briefly summed up why we need makerspaces, and what we might loo...

Via Kalani Kirk Hausman
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“Made in Africa with e-waste” 3D printer campaign

“Made in Africa with e-waste” 3D printer campaign | dream. design. make. | Scoop.it
The WoeLab of Lomé, Togo in West Africa has launched a new campaign on the European crowd-funding site ululue.com to help them bring their W.Afate 3D printers to the 3D Print Show in New York next week… before sending their 3D printers all the way...

Via Kalani Kirk Hausman
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Connected Living: The Next Big Thing After Facebook

Connected Living: The Next Big Thing After Facebook | dream. design. make. | Scoop.it
Imagine waking up on a Monday morning in the year 2025 to the sweet voice of your digital assistant called Leyla. Leyla already woke you up 10 minutes early as she just learned from the Google Connected living home black box that syncs her with the outside world and all [...]

Via Mayra Aixa Villar
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The Jetsons..,!

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Computer Science and the Birth of a New Core Literacy- Part 1

There has been a lot of press lately about the need to teach computer programming or “coding’ is schools today. From “A Day of Code” to Code Academy to the potpourri of news stories and opportunities all extolling the virtues of “coding”. While not a new concept, there is even a resurgence of conversation about how learning a computer programming language can replace the requirement of learning a world language.

 

I am a fan of “coding” but feel that all of the conversation about coding really misses the point. We should really be discussing the idea that computer science is something everyone should now be exposed to at a basic level for literacy in today’s modern society. 


Via Susan Einhorn
Jeannine Huffman's insight:

...anything that advances learning how things work is good,

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Susan Einhorn's curator insight, February 3, 2014 1:08 PM

Computational thinking and the new literacy. Going beyond just coding.

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Free curriculum for maker-kids: toy hacking, 3D printing, Arduino rovers and more! - Boing Boing

Free curriculum for maker-kids: toy hacking, 3D printing, Arduino rovers and more! - Boing Boing | dream. design. make. | Scoop.it
Free curriculum for maker-kids: toy hacking, 3D printing, Arduino rovers and more!

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Stewart Dunn's curator insight, February 2, 2014 7:49 AM

arduino beginners course   blinky to motors

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Arduino Rising: 10 Amazing Projects People Are Doing With The Tiny Microcontroller

Arduino Rising: 10 Amazing Projects People Are Doing With The Tiny Microcontroller | dream. design. make. | Scoop.it
The best way to celebrate Arduino is to learn about its best projects and applications.

Via Gregory Crawford
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Scientists Begin Looking at Programmers' Brains: The Neuroscience of ... - Huffington Post (blog)

Programming is a deeply complex but relatively new human activity. Its young age has lent itself to countless battles and hotly debated topics that despite the many compelling arguments presented, we seemingly have no definitive answers for. All that is about to change: An international team of scientists lead by Dr. Janet Siegmund is using brain imaging with fMRI to understand the programmer's mind. Understanding the brain offers us the chance to distill these complex issues into fundamental answers.


Via Susan Einhorn
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Introduction to Computer Programming - What Is It

Introduction to Computer Programming - What Is It | dream. design. make. | Scoop.it

Creating a computer program can be like composing music, like designing a house, like creating lots of stuff.  It has been argued that in its current state it is an art, not engineering. 

 

An important reason to consider learning about how to program a computer is that the concepts underlying this will be valuable to you, regardless of whether or not you go on to make a career out of it.  One thing that you will learn quickly is that a computer is very dumb but obedient.  It does exactly what you tell it to do, which is not necessarily what you wanted.  Programming will help you learn the importance of clarity of expression.


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Susan Einhorn's curator insight, March 28, 2014 1:36 PM

Interesting intro to computer programming, what it is, why it's important.

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The Future of Farming is Open Source | MAKE

The Future of Farming is Open Source | MAKE | dream. design. make. | Scoop.it
Farm Hack shows off their pedal-powered compost chipper at World Maker Faire New York. Farmers are innovators, which is a nice way of saying that they really like to tinker with things. They were hacking complicated ...
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How to teach hacking in school and open up education

How to teach hacking in school and open up education | dream. design. make. | Scoop.it
Whatever you may have heard about hackers, the truth is they do something really, really well: discover. Hackers are motivated, resourceful, and creative. They get deeply into how things work, to the point that they know how ...
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Top Ed-Tech Trends of 2013: Coding and "Making" - Hack Education

Top Ed-Tech Trends of 2013: Coding and "Making" - Hack Education | dream. design. make. | Scoop.it
As with all of the trends I'm covering in my year-end review, neither the “Learn to Code” nor the “Maker Movement” are new. I'll say it again: read Seymour Papert's Mindstorms, published in 1980. ....
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Oxford Flood Network - Using the Internet of Things to Detect Flooding » DesignSpark

Oxford Flood Network - Using the Internet of Things to Detect Flooding » DesignSpark | dream. design. make. | Scoop.it
Love Hz, an Oxford-based startup specialising in the Internet of Things and wireless sensor networks. They are looking volunteers to help further develop there open source flood monitor. find out more about this fascinating project.

Via Gregory Crawford
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Make a Duct Tape Electric Rose

Make a Duct Tape Electric Rose | dream. design. make. | Scoop.it
A rose is a rose, unless it's duct tape, electric LED rose. Read more on MAKE

Via Kalani Kirk Hausman
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DIYbio Arduino PCR (thermal cycler)

DIYbio Arduino PCR (thermal cycler) | dream. design. make. | Scoop.it
This tutorial will show you how to make a thermal cycler from scratch for about $85. In short, PCR (polymerase chain reaction) amplifies bits of DNA, ...

Via Kalani Kirk Hausman
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Kalani Kirk Hausman's curator insight, February 6, 2014 5:09 AM

The fantastic folks at the ATX Hackerspace in Austin are working on DIYbio options to bring PCR genetic amplification to Maker spaces.

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Make a Duct Tape Electric Rose

Make a Duct Tape Electric Rose | dream. design. make. | Scoop.it
A rose is a rose, unless it's duct tape, electric LED rose. Read more on MAKE

Via Kalani Kirk Hausman
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“Made in Africa with e-waste” 3D printer campaign

“Made in Africa with e-waste” 3D printer campaign | dream. design. make. | Scoop.it
The WoeLab of Lomé, Togo in West Africa has launched a new campaign on the European crowd-funding site ululue.com to help them bring their W.Afate 3D printers to the 3D Print Show in New York next week… before sending their 3D printers all the way...

Via Kalani Kirk Hausman
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DevArt: Google's ambitious project to program a new generation of artists

DevArt: Google's ambitious project to program a new generation of artists | dream. design. make. | Scoop.it

The exhibition is called Digital Revolution, and from July 3rd to September 14th it will explore the impact of technology on art over the past 40 years. At the core of DevArt is a new website and competition from Google that hopes to inspire coders to get creative, and offers them the platform on which to do so. Taken at face value, the three projects couldn’t be more different, but all will be created much in the same way any piece of software is. The message is simple: all you need is an idea, and the ability to code it, and you can create amazing things.


Via Susan Einhorn
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