Andres Vasquez Quintero, Ghent University
Fabrication of Fixed-Shape Soft Smart Objects by Thermoplastic Forming of Flat Stretchable Circuits
Written by Akshay Phadnis
An increasing interest in stretchable, controlled shape polymer has inspired Andres Vasquez Quintero of Ghent University to develop shape-retaining electronic circuits. These circuits are based on elastic circuits with substitution by thermoplastic polymer carrier. Most importantly, these circuit systems are supposed to take a predetermined shape in the absence of any external force, for example, smart lenses (to replace the bi-focal glasses) or shoe in-soles. A flexible electronic circuit capable of stretching and deforming is first developed and then molded into the desired shape using a thermoforming process using suitable molds. Smart lenses developed using this methodology were demonstrated. Various challenges faced in the development of these lenses such as wrinkling were discussed in detail. These dynamic lenses can be tuned to be adaptable to environmental condition using LCD monitors to develop tunable lenses.