Flexible PCBs have become increasingly common in both commercial devices and DIY projects, but Panasonic’s new stretchable, clear substrate for electrical circuits called Beyolex takes things a step further. The material is superior to existing stretchable films like silicone, TPU, or PDMS due to its high heat tolerance (over 160° C) for the purposes of sintering printable circuit traces.
But, a flexible substrate isn’t very useful for electronics without some conductive traces. Copper and silver inks make for good electrical circuits on stretchable films, and are even solderable, but increase resistance each time they are stretched. Recently, a team out of the University of Coimbra in Portugal has developed a liquid metal ink that can stretch without the resistance issues of existing inks, making it a promising pair with Panasonic’s substrate. There’s also certain environmental benefits of printing circuits in this manner over traditional etching and even milling, as you’re only putting conductive materials where needed.
After the break, check out Panasonic’s earlier videos showing some of their demo circuits that include a stretchable NFC antenna harvesting electricity even while submerged in water and an LED matrix performing while being, bent, rolled, and stretched. We’re excited to see where this technology leads and when we hackers will be able to create our own stretchable projects.
A great many flexible PCB projects have graced Hackaday, from early experiments to sophisticated flexible PCB projects. Heck, we had a whole Flexible PCB Contest with some awesome flexible projects.
Continue reading “Truly Flexible Circuits Are A Bit Of A Stretch” →
Electric vehicles are slowly but surely snatching market share from their combustion-engined forbearers. However, range and charging speed remain major sticking points for customers, and are a prime selling point for any modern EV. Battery technology is front and center when it comes to improving these numbers.
Solid-state batteries could mark a step-change in performance in these areas, and the race to get them to market is starting to heat up. Let’s take a look at the current state of play.
Continue reading “The State Of Play In Solid State Batteries” →
There’s so much obsolete technology out there with great design. It’s really sad to see it end up in the landfill, because even though the insides may be outdated, good design is forever. Take this 1980s Panasonic answering machine, for instance. The smoky plastic of the cassette lid is the perfect screen for Dot, because it lets the light through while hiding the modernity of the thing in the process. Check it out in action after the break.
What [ehans_makes] has written is really more of an overall guide to repurposing old electronics and fighting e-waste in the process. First, they non-destructively figure out what needs to be done to both the old thing and the newer thing to get them to play nicely together — what 3D printed parts need to be added, what can be salvaged and reused from the old thing, and what parts of the old enclosure can be Dremeled away. In this case, [ehans_makes] ended up printing an adapter to be able to re-use the original speaker’s mounting points inside the answering machine, and printed a mount for the Dot as well. The STLs are available if you happen to find the same answering machine at your local thrift store or neighbor’s estate sale.
While we’ve always managed to hold on to the screws when we disassemble something, [ehans_makes] has an even better idea: draw a diagram of where they go, and tape the actual screws to the diagram as you remove them.
Some of the best designs never really existed, at least not on a commercial scale. If you can’t find a cool old enclosure, you can always build one yourself.
Continue reading “An Echo Dot For The 1980s” →
[Manuel] built his own thermal printer based around an Arduino. We’re a bit confused about the parts, his webpage specifies an EFA-1019HW2 print head but the bill of materials on his github shows EPT-1019W2. We can’t find a source for either product number, but we did find similar thermal line printers for as low as $32.00. The controller boards on the other hand look to be around $150 so building your own is a definite win. [Manuel’s] version can print 96 points and has a font set that prints 32 characters per line. Check out the video after the break and let us know if the noise of the print head is a deal killer for you.
Continue reading “Arduino Based Thermal Printer” →
[Nick] tipped us off about a guide to unlock extra features on Panasonic televisions. The hack works on the G10 models of plasma TVs and uses the service menu to gain access to the EEPROM memory. With a few quick steps you can change some data with a built in hex editor, unlocking several new settings menus, or bricking your entertainment centerpiece. We’ve seen some Samsung TV hacking in the past and hope that with increased processing power in today’s models we’ll someday see consumer TVs available with open-source firmware so that we can integrate of our favorite entertainment software.