Conductive polymer can be both flexible and rigid
The boffins at Sony's Tokyo labs are working on a clever way to get bulky electronic devices into small pockets. Their plan is to create handheld computers, phones and portable games consoles that fold up for carrying and then become rigid for use.The body and screen of folding gadgets would be made from a flexible polymer containing conductive rubber bracing struts filled with a gel of aluminosilicate particles suspended in silicone oil.When a current is passed through the struts, the particles clump together and harden the gel, making the gadget solid enough to use. Sony has found that it would take very little power to make such a folding device harden, so the drain on its battery should be low. The company's patent adds that the transition from soft to hard takes just milliseconds. It suggests that the same technique could even be used in a video game controller to make it jolt or change shape in response to on-screen action.
Source: newscientist.comAdded: 12 June 2006