Scientists at the Tufts School of Engineering and at the University of Illinois have created simple electronic devices that harmlessly dissolve after a set period of time. The scientists call their invention transient electronics, devices which could have a huge impact on medical devices and on the environment in general. Future computers could melt in your mouth and in your hand. Or anywhere else for that matter.
The devices were made using silicon components that are only “tens of nanometers thick.” These components are then encased in sheets of silk protein. This silk casing can be tweaked to determine the lifespan of the device, and the scientists say the range could be anywhere from minutes to years. Here’s a short video showing how these circuits could dissolve in water.
This breakthrough could lead to medical devices that can be safely left in a patient’s body (and eventually decompose) as well as consumer devices that eventually dissolve instead of piling up in landfills.