Liquid metal capsules used to make self-healing electronics

A crack team of engineers at the University of Illinois has developed an electronic circuit that autonomously self-heals when its metal wires are broken. This self-healing system restores conductivity within “mere microseconds,” which is apparently fast enough that operation can continue without interruption.

The self-healing mechanism is delightfully simple: The engineers place a bunch of 10-micron (0.01mm) microcapsules along the length of a circuit. The microcapsules are full of liquid metal, a gallium-indium alloy, and if the circuit underneath cracks, so do the microcapsules (90% of the time, anyway — the tech isn’t perfect yet!). The liquid metal oozes into the circuit board, restoring up to 99% conductivity, and everything continues as normal. This even works with multi-layer printed circuit boards (PCBs), such the motherboard in your computer, too. There’s no word on whether this same technology could one day be used by Terminators to self-heal shotgun blasts to the face, but it certainly sounds quite similar — via redwolf.newsvine.com

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