For centuries, Cambridge has been a hub for learning; the University being world famous for top-notch thinkers. Since the 1970s technological research has flourished side by side with academia, and now the city has been ranked in the top three “technology innovation ecosystems” according to an international survey.
One company located in Cambridge’s Silicon Valley is Cambridge Nanosystems. This company has a dream – to make a bendy tablet. Ever dropped your tablet or laptop? Probably. Shattered screens, damaged hard drives, it’s a nightmare most of us have experienced. But what if your tech was bendable, foldable, and bouncier? It would be far harder to damage.
This basic idea has led Cambridge Nanosystems to develop a way of producing graphene, the key ingredient to make the bendy tablet a reality.
Graphene is a lightweight, virtually invisible substance made from a layer of carbon atoms. It can conduct electricity and heat, but is expensive to produce in large volumes. Cambridge Nanosystems claim they have found a cheaper way to produce graphene by converting waste gas products such as methane into types of carbon.
Nanosystem’s director, Dr Krzysztof Koziol, claims that the company can now turn 1kg of gas into almost the equivalent volume of graphene in just over an hour.
A conducting ink could then be used on different surfaces including plastic and metal. Further development could ultimately lead to the ability to print a touchscreen computer on any material at a relatively low cost.
So does this mean that in a few years we could have a computer that can be folded into your pocket, or doesn’t break if you drop it? It looks likely…