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Monday, 17 October 2011 11:09

Boffins develop phones that can reinvent themselves

Written by Nick Farell



If only this worked with customers


Boffins at Northwestern University in the US are using nanomaterials to create mobile gear that can rewire itself. The big idea is that in the future mobile devices may be able to reconfigure themselves to meet new demands.

How the boffins have done this is by creating a nanomaterial that can “steer” electrical currents. The discovery could lead to the development of smartphones and devices that can reconfigure their internal ‘wiring’ and evolve into an entirely different and new device, to reflect the changing needs of punters.

Apparently there is a barrier forming where materials from which the circuits are constructed begin to lose their properties and are more likely to be controlled by quantum mechanical phenomena. This causes a problem because all these quantum potentually dead and alive cats get into the phone and start sticking their paws onto the circuitry. To get around this problem scientists have begun building circuits in three dimensions, by stacking components on top of one another.

But another method is to make reconfigurable electronic materials that can rearrange themselves to meet different computational needs at different times. The team is wants to create a single device able to reconfigure itself into a resistor, a rectifier, a diode and a transistor based on signals from a computer. The multi-dimensional circuitry could be reconfigured into new electronic circuits using a varied input sequence of electrical pulses, the team said.

Nick Farell

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