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Liquid metal alloy could allow hobbyists to print electronics at home on any surface
A trio of Chinese researchers claim to have successfully demonstrated a metal alloy that is liquid at room temperature. This means that we might one day be able to use something as basic as inkjet printers to turn out all kinds of homemade electronics that can be printed on virtually any surface.
The concoction is a mix of gallium and indium which, in its liquid state, can be printed on things like paper, t-shirts, plastic, rubber or as The Verge points out, even a leaf. As you can imagine, such versatility could easily pave the way for a whole new segment of wearable electronics but according to Jing Liu, the author of the research paper, there’s far more potential than meets the eye.
Liu points out that it is possible to adapt the alloy to generate a transparent conductive film. Said film would allow 47 percent of light to pass through which could go a long way to making those see-thru smartphone, tablet and watch concepts a reality.
That may be a bit in the future but in the interim, the team believes the alloy can be used to help speed up the process of prototyping and going from a concept to a viable consumer product. And based on how simple the technology is and the fact that no real special equipment is needed, we could see applications in the real world much sooner than other far-fetched ideas and at a much cheaper price.
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