Dutch Researchers Develop Flexible Ceramic for Circuit Boards

A Dutch startup from the University of Twente has developed a flexible ceramic material that it intends to use to create the next generation of circuit boards. Eurekite – founded by two if the university’s students and their academic supervisor – is calling its new tissue-like material Flexiramics, which is fireproof and non-conducting.

“The discovery of flexiramics came as a surprise,” Eurekite  CEO Gerard Cadafalch Gazquez told Ars Technica. “It happens sometimes that you discover something you’re not looking for. I took [the samples] out after an experiment and saw it was a flexible material, so my first reaction was—okay, it didn’t work. But soon after I realised it didn’t burn.”

Even when exposed to temperatures of up to 1,200oC for 24 hours, Flexiramics does not melt or burn. That, combined with it being lightweight, flexible, and non-conductive, makes the material perfect for creating a new breed of printed circuit boards (PCBs), and will cost around the same as current PCB builds to manufacture (around €1 per 10x10cm).

While similar materials exist, a patent for Flexiramics has been filed by Eurekite, and its uniqueness is marked by how thin it can be manufactured.

“We are capable of varying the thicknesses of our material,” Gazquez said. “We go from a few micrometers to over a millimetre.”

Tech Furniture With a Twist

If it sounds as if we have turned into popular but dull television show QVC, we haven’t, you won’t find any of the following sublime pieces of furniture on that or any other mass-produced channel. As tech is produced in greater volumes, there is one question which remains constant, what do you do with the eventual waste within a perpetual upgrading cycle? Well, according to the below items, you can achieve quite an array of dazzling re-imaginings of classic products.

So, what do we have first? Below is a table, but not just a standard run of the mill Ikea flat-packed piece, but a coffee table which has been constructed out of circuit boards.  This amazing item was the brain child of David Maloney of Glendale, Wisconsin. In 2009 he saved a series of circuit boards for a potential craft project which turned into a table. He achieved the design by building an internal structure to mount the boards before crafting the frame from Black Walnut wood; wow is my impression, I would love to own this.

Next up is a chair/stool, Chilean Designer Rodrigo Alonso created the N+EW (No More Electronic Waste) art product in 2007. He collected components which had been blended into bits before placing them into a mould. He then filled the gaps between them with an epoxy resin which permanently encased the waste in a translucent form that can be used as a stool. The top of the stool looks to be the earth at an angle, again, an amazing design which re-imagines the whole concept of electronic waste.

Next up is a round table with a difference, a clever individual by the name of Joe Grand of Grand Idea Studio in Portland, Oregon, created a table from a 26-inch diameter hard drive platter from a 1960s mainframe computer. Today an average standard consumer based hard drive can hold around 3TB of data with Laptops holding around 1TB as standard, this disk could hold a huge 9MB of storage, which is tiny compared to today. Hopefully, the round edge is not sharp.

Last piece of tech furniture porn arrives courtesy of a 1987 Apple Mac II in the form of a sofa, or 25 to be precise, each mac was worth a staggering $5,500 dollars each, so that’s 25 x 5,500 = $137500. Of course, this price doesn’t account for inflation or the dirt cheap a price which these computers can now be found for. It’s an eye-catching piece of furniture, but maybe not the most comfortable.

Thank you bradlands, thenewsisbroken, grandideastudio and ralonso for providing us with this information.

Print Circuit Boards Fast and Cheap With Squink

3D printing has proven a smash hit, with people using it to create prototype products and a multitude of cool and innovative things. However, they’re not well suited to creating electronic parts, so what can you do if you need a circuit board or other internal components for your new creations? Well that’s where Botfactory computer engineer Carlos Ospina comes in which his creation, Squink.

Squink is capable of printing a circuit board much in the same way a 3D printer makes models. Best of all it can do it in just a few minutes, it can do it for around $2 and it’s portable! Squink hit Kickstarter last week and within three days it has raised $84,000 of its $100,000 target.

It creates circuit boards by printing conductive ink onto specific materials such as photo paper and even glass, so while they may not be idea for putting into a final product, they’re ideal for rapid prototyping and testing of products that you aim to develop further.

The whole thing is still a prototype, but the Kickstarter is already gaining traction. If you’re interested in tinkering with electronics then this is certainly one type of printer you’ll want to keep an eye on. You can check out the official Squink Kickstarter page here.

Thank you TechCrunch for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of TechCrunch.