What’s new in technology?

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microscope for manufacturingHere at Hi5 Electronics we like to keep on top of the latest technology trends, particularly if they relate to circuits and printed circuit boards.

We’ve collected some of the most important industry news which has surfaced over the last few months and listed them below.

Flexible Printed Circuits (FPC)

Flexible circuit boards are set to be a large growth area in years to come. Increasingly, thin and flexible circuits are being installed in a broader range of electronic products. They are finding their niche in wearable technologies like smart watches.

Although there are still issues with the ‘metalisation’ of these difficult-to-plate circuits, there is no doubt they will become more widespread as time goes on. In fact the new iPhone design is expected to integrate an FPC underneath the LCD module to make the touch system more responsive.

Flexible microsupercapacitor

It is not only Flexible Circuit Boards which have hit the headlines recently. James Tour, a chemist at The Rice University lab recently created a ‘supercharged’ flexible microsupercapacitor by burning patterns into a polymer infused with boric acid.

According to researchers this quadrupled the supercapacitor’s ability to store an electrical charge while greatly boosting its energy density.

New method for manufacturing graphene

A team of researchers from MIT and the University of Michigan claim to have developed a method for producing graphene which would be suitable for commercial use.

Graphene is an incredibly thin, incredibly strong and super conductive material which has hundreds of potential uses in high efficiency solar panels and flexible products. But it has always been tricky to commercialise because the material is so hard to produce.

The original method for making graphene involved ripping sticky tape off blocks of graphene. The new technique makes it possible to produce the material on an industrial scale. One to watch out for.

Cheapest virtual reality headset

Virtual reality headsets like Sony’s Morpheus VR and the Oculus Rift are eagerly anticipated by many technology buffs.

Google have sought to make virtual reality available to everyone with Google Cardboard – check it out.

The future of Google Glass

Google Glass was pulled from stores earlier this year when developers claimed the technology simply wasn’t ready for public use. Since then there have been lots of low and distant rumblings about what the future holds for the eyewear technology.

Those rumblings grew louder when it emerged that the company was hiring new engineers with an ‘eyewear’ mandate. What comes next for Google Glass is unclear but we are excited.

The year of the Internet of Things

There has already been a lot said about the Internet of Things (IoT). And the definition seems to be growing broader and broader every day. Many suspect that 2015 will be the year when the Internet of Things truly comes into its own.

We will begin to see many more connected devices at home. The model of the ‘smart home’ will become a reality, with lots of new appliances controlled by, for example, smart phones.

Expect IoT technology to begin monitoring the home more closely, make entertainment more interactive and aid productivity.