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10 April 2014 11:44 am ,
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The Pyrenean ibex, an impressive mountain goat that lived in the central Pyrenees in Spain, went extinct in 2000. But a...
Tight budgets are forcing NASA to consider turning off one or more planetary science projects that have completed their...
Ebola is not a stranger to West Africa—an outbreak in the 1990s killed chimpanzees and sickened one researcher. But the...
In an as-yet-unpublished report, an international panel of geoscientists has concluded that a pair of deadly...
Tropical disease experts tried and failed before to eradicate yaws, a rare disfiguring disease of poor countries. Now,...
Since 2002, researchers have reported that agricultural communities in the hot and humid Pacific Coast of Central...
Balkan endemic kidney disease surfaced in the 1950s and for decades defied attempts to finger the cause. It occurred...
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ScienceShot: Disposable Keypads
18 May 2012 3:43 pm
Paper-based electronics are fine and dandy, but where do you stick the buttons? That’s a problem that has confronted engineers ever since they first created ultrathin batteries and solar cells by grafting nanometer-thick layers of metals, carbon nanotubes, or photovoltaic cells onto paper. Now a team led by a mechanical engineer has developed a paper-based keypad that allows people to interact with this floppy future. The researchers started with paper coated with a thin layer of aluminum normally used in book covers. They then etched 10 buttons (above) into the metal with a laser cutter. This created breaks in the conductive area across the material. Finally, they attached the device to a cardboard box outfitted with an alarm. Touching the lines in each button bridged the breaks in the metal, changing the electrical charge. And those changes turned off the alarm, the researchers will report in an upcoming issue of Advanced Materials. The keypad cost the scientists $50 to make, but they believe they can cut the price. If so, the advance could lead to a new generation of cheap, disposable devices, like one-use chips to diagnose malaria and HIV, for the developing world.
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