It wasn’t too long ago when there used to be a niche segment where we would come across e-readers that exhibited a certain degree of flexibility. Often and on there would be pictures of e-reader bend to some extent which would hold us in awe. Unfortunately, none of them ever turned out to be a market success and it was left to only the conventional and inflexible e-reader to satisfy the e-book loving crowd.
However, it seems such bendable e-readers are back again, thanks to a group of researchers based in Taiwan who claim to have hit upon a novel way of devising electronics that could withstand bending and shearing forces up to some extent. And the most surprising aspect of it all, our good old silk fabric is the center of it all. For it’s all about a technique that comprises of silk in liquid form, which is converted to a membrane that exhibits properties of insulators and can function as flexible thin film transistors.
The method has been devised by an engineering professor along with two post graduate students at Taiwan’s National Tsing Hua University and have stated they are already in discussion with a few manufacturers. Needless to say, the technology holds a lot of promise and could well be the material of the e-readers, LED displays and RFD tags of future.
The use of silk for the manufacture of electronic devices can also lead to a lot of savings cost wise as it is estimated that its just $0.03 worth of silk that would be required for every device. Then silk being a natural fiber also means the damage done to the environment is also the least. Much less than what plastics usually do.
There is no word though as to when we might get to see a silk e-reader in a real world scenario sharing retail space with perhaps the Kindle and the Nooks of the future.