Scientists have begun to develop new methods of dealing with faulty equipment and the over abundance of electronic waste. With these new implications of “self-healing” technological advancements, electronics from airplanes to iPhones will surely have a bright future ahead of them.
A most unusual new development in the technological world may revolutionize the latest and greatest mobile devices and other electronic machines the common man encounters in daily life. Scientists are developing a new way to tackle important and difficult electronic repairs. According to the Huffington Post, electronic engineers from the University of Illinois have recently released their latest research and projects for new electronics that have the ability to detect faults in their design and self-remedy these faults.
These advancements in electronic mending will hopefully serve many purposes, including cutting back on electronic waste and create instant and vital repairs to electronics. From astronautically designed shuttles, to airplanes and even to simple iPods, the electronic repair world will be forever changed with this new integration.
“Rather than having to build in redundancies or to build in a sensory diagnostics system, this material is designed to take care of the problem itself,” said Jeffrey Moore, one of the engineers from the University of Illinois, in response to the publishing of his and his colleagues’ findings in the Advanced Materials journal. Engineering Professor Nancy Sottos of Science Daily, reports, “Sometimes you just can’t get to the inside. In a multilayer integrated circuit, there’s no opening it up. Normally you just replace the whole chip. It’s true for a battery too. You can’t pull a battery apart and try to find the source of the failure.”
Essentially, the electronic device or machine is comprised of electronic chips and batteries that require electric currents to function. If these important “organs” are damaged, the machine or device cannot function properly. What these engineers have found is a way to instantly repair these internal chips by means of lining them with “microcapsules along the circuit lines.”
These microcapsules release a controlled liquid metal that reestablishes an electric current to the chips and batteries, allowing the machine to work properly again. This kind of advancement can be vitally important for machines like airplanes that cannot have a repairman climb out and fix them while they operate in mid-flight. “In an aircraft, especially a defense-based aircraft, there are miles and miles of conductive wire,” said Sottos, explaining the importance of this technology.
What’s more, the circuit healing microcapsules can make simpler devices, like personal electronics, easier to work with. Rather than having to go and buy all new devices because of one faulty part, the device heals itself if it suffers internal damage from, for example being dropped.
The decrease in electronic waste will be an incredible benefit to consumers as well as the “green conscious” globe. All in all, this kind of technological advancement sounds like it’s a winner. While these microcapsules may cause some of our technology to become not nearly as slim, the efficiency of the device may very well be worth the weight gain.
Author Byll Monahan, 24, is a graduate from Cabrini College in Radnor, PA. He is usually opposed to new advancements in technology, but this new feature could actually benefit the world rather than offer a new application on a smart phone, and so he approves.