We demand that personal electronics becomes thinner and more affordable yet we want our phones and television sets to have ever bigger screens with better images. How to square the circle? Apple
has recently had some challenges with the wafer-thin iPhone 6 being damaged when you sit on it. Most of the heralded smart watches trumpeted this year use chunky components-in-a-box technology reminiscent of one hundred years ago and painfully tiny human interfaces. Wearable technology will do much better than this in future as more modern technology is adopted.
The only portable answer to most of the needs is flexible and then elastic, stretchable electronics that suffers the most extreme abuse. It will even take the form of tightly-rollable large screens that can unwind and spring back from your phone or tablet. Some of these will even have large keyboards and large area photovoltaics charging the battery
- power being another problem to tackle given the increased power needed by new features such as near field communication (NFC)
adopted by Apple in its devices this year. Users increasingly want to use WiFi, GPS
and other features for more of the day - all a drain on the ever thinner phones which need several forms of energy harvesting
in future to "make electricity where you need it," as Edison said 130 years ago.
The world's largest event on printed, organic
and flexible electronics is Printed Electronics USA
in Santa Clara California 19-20 November. It covers flexible, stretchable, transparent and other advanced forms of electronics, even making that phone case intelligent. One of the nine parallel conferences is on wearable technology over two days. New forms of energy harvesting are examined and there are optional Masterclasses before and after the two day event that teach a host of these subjects using world-renowned experts. End-user requirements are fully explored with industrial and other. The latest diverse technology capability and all the opportunities: it is all here. Over 200 exhibitors and 2,500 attendees are expected.