Thursday, June 07, 2018 by David Williams
The world’s leading scientists and inventors are always looking for ways to improve current forms of technology. In the case of standard electronics, certain physical limitations often stand in the way of progress. As such, the need for game-changing materials is always present. Graphene is one such material, and it has already been the subject of numerous studies over the past decade to find out just how useful it can be.
To be more specific, graphene was showcased at the most recent Mobile World Congress, an annual trade show in Barcelona, Spain, where a Graphene Pavilion showed around 25 different graphene-based research projects, showing where the innovative material could be best applied. There were different types of gadgets presented, including wearables and even robots. Pretty soon, graphene-based devices could become mainstream. And with them, new technological standards could soon become the norm.
In case you haven’t heard, graphene is a breakthrough new material that is widely considered as revolutionary thanks to its many remarkable physical properties. It’s basically an extremely thin layer of pure carbon – which is said to be a single atom thick – that contains carbon atoms tightly packed in a distinctive honeycomb structure. It comes from graphite, where scientists were first able to extract it, and offers extraordinary strength and flexibility as some of its key features. In short, it has the capability to dramatically change the physical make-up of certain objects, which could lead to vastly improved versions of today’s standard electronic gadgets. (Related: Mark of the FEAST: Researchers invent edible graphene, paving the way for food that can be tracked through embedded RFID patterns.)
One example of how graphene can change current tech is by introducing enhanced performance when it comes to things like energy storage. It is said that graphene can be built right into batteries and thereby cause drastic improvements, particularly in speeding up energy transfer between them and power sources. This change could potentially be exponential, so that charging a graphene-infused battery – one that is perhaps meant for standard mobile devices – might just take mere seconds instead of hours like it does now.
And if you think that it would take many years of research and prototyping to get to that level with graphene, think again. According to Kari Hjelt, the head of innovation at Graphene Flagship, the billion-euro research program that’s funded by the European Union (EU), it could be done within the next two years at the earliest. “It’s still a young material, so we’re actually quite amazed how much it has developed in only 14 years,” he said. “The thing with the graphene is that it works on so many fields and in fantastic ways, so we have really picked the ones that are the most promising for Europe and for business.”
There are other areas wherein graphene can offer many benefits. One example of a possible biomedical improvement through graphene is the creation of stronger and more flexible artificial limbs. And not only that, but with the use of graphene-based nerve sensors placed within the top of the limbs, it may be possible for an individual to experience contractions and other movements in muscles. This would allow them to control their artificial limbs much better.
At this point, graphene could have a massive impact on technology in general. All that’s needed is for scientists and engineers to figure out the right applications for it in order to maximize its seemingly miraculous capabilities.
Find out more revolutionary uses for graphene at Inventions.news.