A team of researchers has come up with a new material that could pave the way for self-repairing smartphones, robots and other electronic devices.
The boffins from the American Chemical Society claim that the material, which can stretch up to 50 times its usual size, is able to heal itself “like nothing has happened” even when cut in two.
The material is flexible, transparent and is similar to human skin. When exposed to electrical signals, a current is generated that creates a chemical bonding reaction between molecules.
The most obvious applications for electronics devices seem to be self-healing displays, although lead researcher Dr Chao Wang is also exploring the possibility of a self-healing lithium-ion battery.
The technology is similar to the hydrogen-infused rear cover found on the LG G Flex, which allows for small scratches to be healed. However this material can “automatically stitch itself back together” within one day of being sliced into pieces. The team will present its research at a Tuesday meeting of the American Chemical Society.
Exposure to smartphone screens will stuff up your sleep, according to a new study.
Writing in the science journal PLOS ONE, which sounds more like a mathematics magazine for dyslexics, Matthew Christensen from the University of California, San Francisco and his chums wondered what the physical effects of increased smartphone use was having on the great unwashed.
Christensen and colleagues tested the hypothesis that increased screen-time may be associated with poor sleep by analysing data from 653 adult individuals across the United States participating in the Health eHeart Study.
Participants installed a smartphone application which recorded their screen-time, defined as the number of minutes in each hour that the screen was turned on, over a 30-day period. They also recorded their sleeping hours and sleep quality.
Each participant used their phones 38.4 hours over this period, with smartphones being activated on average for 3.7 minutes in each hour. Longer average screen-time was associated with poor sleep quality and less sleep overall, particularly when smartphones were used near participants’ bedtime.
The first to measure smartphone exposure prospectively, but caution that the study also had some limits which means that the authors cannot show causation or exclude the “effect-cause” that poor sleep could lead to more screen time. What they did find was a theory that bedtime smartphone use may negatively impact sleep.
Another day and another first, this time from AU Optronics (AUO). The company has announced what it claims is the first naked eye 3D laptop panel.
The panel, which will be shown off at FPD International 2010, combines lenticular lens 3D technology with SuperD’s naked eye 3D to create the deadzone-free 15.6 inch notebook and 10.1 inch tablet 3D panels that do not require the use of special glasses.
The technology also has an an eye-tracking system that captures viewers’ eyeball movements, which overcomes the confined viewing angles of conventional 3D displays, says AUO. This means that viewers should be able to see 3D images in high quality whichever angle they are sitting at.
The panels also have high brightness and Moiré-free image quality and both 2D and 3D modes can operate concurrently on the same display, allowing the viewer to switch between the two. Text can be displayed in 3D too.
The first displays to appear will be the 15.6 inch Full HD and 10.1″ WXGA panels. AUO said these will be suitable for laptop and tablet PC displays and should be mass produced in the third quarter of 2011.
We’re actually quite excited about these.
Rising sales of smartphones and tablet PCs in 2010 will contribute to the growth of small and medium sized TFT LCD panels and enable it to expand at its fastest pace in years, according to analyst outfit iSuppli.
TFT LCD panels are set to rise by 28.1 percent in 2010 to 2.3 billion units, up 28.1 percent from 1.8 billion in 2009. iSuppli reckons this will represent the highest level of growth for the market since 2007, when shipments rose by 49.8 percent.
The figures below represent iSuppli’s forecast of global shipments of small and medium TFT LCD panels. iSuppli defines small/medium displays as those having a diagonal dimension of less than 10 inches.
Vinita Jakhanwal, director, small and medium displays at iSuppli, said: “Sales of smart phones and tablets are booming in 2010 courtesy of the iPhone, the iPad and a range of competing products.
“Because such devices focus on delivering a high-quality user experience, many are employing TFT-LCD displays that offer bright, sharp images—a move that represents a boon for the suppliers of these displays.”
It’s predicted that global smart phone shipments are set to rise by 35.5 percent in 2010, while tablet PC shipments will grow by a huge 787.3 percent. These will be driven, says iSuppli, “almost entirely by Apple’s iPad.”
Smartphone outlets had also been inspired by the iPhone 4 and are now adopting TFT LCDs using In-Plane Switching (IPS) technology. IPS supports a wider viewing angle and better picture quality in terms of presentation of colour than a conventional LCD. It also consumes less electricity.
TFT-LCD suppliers now are making alliances or developing their own technology so that they can offer IPS displays to their smart phone and tablet customers.
The competing advanced display technology known as the Active Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diode (AMOLED) is experiencing rapid growth in the small/medium display market. AMOLEDs are expanding because of the rise of Android.
TFT LCD shipments will slow in 2011 and beyond as the expansion of the smartphone and tablet markets cools to more normal levels.