New tiny force sensors made out of paper cost just four cents apiece, possibly enabling cheap microelectromechanical devices in anything from consumer electronics to medicine.
Harvard professor George Whitesides developed the paper accelerometers using chromatography paper, tiny sliver and carbon contact pads, and vinyl stencils. The process is so cheap and easy that the sensors could be disposable.
Microelectromechanical devices (MEMS) have the potential to enable a wide range of nanomachines. Unfortunately, MEMS suffer from the critical drawbacks of an expensive manufacturing process, a high rigidity that restricts their use, and a limited pool of suitable materials for construction. Now, it seems that MIT scientists have accidentally solved all those problems by stamping gold MEMS into a sheet of plastic.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.