Stretching graphene transistors may have grabbed attention a short time ago, but the invention from Cornell University could leave even more people awed.
Cutting right to the chase, a study co-authored by Cornell fiber scientist Juan Hinestroza details how transistors can be made with natural cotton fibers.
Indeed, cotton, one of, if not the most widespread material used in clothing today, can be used to make transistors.
Likewise, transistors are the main building block, tiny as they are, of all electronics of today.
As such, making the latter based on the former has massive implications for humankind, and this extends to more than flashy (literally) fashion.
While it might still look like a far future, the type of society where clothing can double as technological gadgets is actually possible now.
"Creating transistors from cotton fibers brings a new perspective to the seamless integration of electronics and textiles, enabling the creation of wearable electronic devices," Hinestroza said
"Perhaps one day we can even build computers out of cotton fibers in a similar way as khipus - a recording device based on knots and used by the Inca empire in Peru."
The transistors are created out of cotton fibers, with cotton threads acting as the gate, drain and source, thanks to nanoparticle-based special coatings.
Cotton provides the comfort, cheapness and flexibility, all the while being lightweight and easily sustainable.
Meanwhile, the layer of gold nano-particles, semiconductive and conductive polymers is thin enough to cover all fiber irregularities without affecting flexibility and wearability.
“The layers were so thin that the flexibility of the cotton fibers was preserved,” Hinestroza said.
Organic electrochemical transistors and organic field effect transistors were demonstrated, both of which are commonly found in TVs, game consoles, phones, etc.
All in all, this may not be the foundation for magic pants but high-tech pants are getting closer and closer by the second.