ETH Zurich Foundation, nanoleq


Vincent Martinez & Luca Hirt

Stretchable Electronics for the Next Generation of Cables

Martinez and Hirt have performed laboratory tests showing that the lifetime of nanoleq cables is up to 100 times longer than a conventional cable. With the help of a machine, they bent and stretched a selection of cables to breaking point. The result: while normal cables became unusable after a few hundred cycles, their newly developed cables still functioned even after thousands of cycles. So, the claim made on nanoleq’s website that its cables are “unbreakable” seems perfectly legitimate.

Even though headphones are primarily important as a visual aid because they encapsulate the problem that nanoleq is attempting to solve, the new the cables are more likely to appeal to industries where the reliability of the connection and the transmission of power are of central importance, such as medical technology, aerospace and robotics.

A special material, which is produced at ETH Zurich, makes the cables much more durable. It also provides a solution to the problem of the wires within the insulation sleeve breaking if they are continuously bent and stretched. Martinez and Hirt are not prepared to say exactly what their material is made of, and why it makes the cables unbreakable – or at least not until their patent application has been granted.

The initial reason for researching the material was to make stretchable electronics suitable for medical use, such as stimulating the spinal cord. As with many research projects, however, this is a very complex and lengthy process.

More on Nanoleq in the ETH news and on their website.