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Graphene Proves a Perfect Fit For Wearable Devices


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An imagined flexible wearable computing device.

University of Manchester academics have demonstrated cheap, flexible, wireless graphene communication devices such as mobile phones and healthcare monitors can be directly printed into clothing and even skin.

Credit: University of Manchester

University of Manchester researchers have developed a method for printing inexpensive, flexible, and wireless graphene communication devices directly into clothing and skin.

The researchers say the technology demonstrates how graphene could be crucial to wearable electronic applications because it is highly conductive and ultra-flexible. They say the research could lead to smart, battery-free healthcare and fitness monitoring, phones, Internet-ready devices, and chargers that can be incorporated into clothing and "smart skin" applications.

Graphene is perfect for the wearables market because of its broad range of applicable qualities. The Manchester researchers, led by Zhirun Hu, printed graphene to construct transmission lines and antennae and experimented with these in communication devices. They attached graphene-enabled antennae to each arm of a mannequin, and found the devices were able to "talk" to each other, effectively creating an on-body communications system.

"This is a significant step forward--we can expect to see a truly all graphene-enabled wireless wearable communications system in the near future," Hu says.

The researchers also think graphene conductive ink can be affordably mass-produced and printed onto various materials, including clothing and paper.

From University of Manchester
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