NOVA Prints Circuits on Soft, Stretchable, Conformable Surfaces #WearableWednesday

Once upon at time at the Lawrence Hall of Science, there was a print lab. And in that print lab were a cluster of dot-matrix printers. Visitors could bring an old punched card and feed it into the computer attached to the printers. Punched cards were once used to transfer digital data, coded in binary through either punched or non-punched holes. When the card was fed in, the dot matrix printers roared to life, chittering out ASCII-style images of a duck or a horse or the occasional octopus. We’ve come a long way from dot-matrix printers and punched cards. MIT is now using “NOVA, a groundbreaking manufacturing platform for printing flexible hybrid electronics. NOVA uses direct-write technology to print circuits on soft, stretchable, and conformable surfaces” Here’s more from Printed Electronics World:
“With NOVA, we can make devices and align them to sub 10-micron precision, which is essential to everything that we do,” said Alex Kashkin, Graduate Researcher, Velasquez Group at MIT, who is using NOVA to develop printed electron sources for neutralizing ionic thruster plumes in low-earth orbit. “If we have a 20-micron deviation, our devices explode. We need a lot of precision, we need to have tuned materials, and NOVA enables both.”
Technological advancement involves pushing the boundaries of what is known. NOVA crosses the bridge between what researchers can do and what they wish they could do. “I think where this sort of technology, NOVA, will shine is in applications that were not possible before. You shouldn’t fight or try to compete with silicon chips or PCBs. You should try to make something that’s impossible with those technologies,” said Gerd Grau, Director of the Electronics Additive Manufacturing Lab at York University, who is using NOVA to develop on-skin biomedical tattoo electrodes.

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