We can be a bit hard to please. We all want our devices to do more and more while consuming less power and taking up less space. And of course, they should look beautiful. But how often do we stop to think about how these incredible machines get built? The unsung heroes of these devices are engineers, scientists, and academics who keep coming up with ways to make the innards of our phones and other devices sleeker and smaller.
As the devices shrink, the components inside them, which sit on a printed circuit board, become smaller and denser. It is becoming more difficult for manufacturing robots (for lack of a better word) to manipulate these components. But help is on the way!
Sanha Kim, a former MIT postdoc and research scientist and colleagues have come up with a solution — a new kind of electro adhesive stamp that can pick up and put down objects that are 1,000 times finer than a human hair. Kim says: “Electronics manufacturing requires handling and assembling small components in a size similar to or smaller than grains of flour. So a special pick-and-place solution is needed, rather than simply miniaturizing [existing] robotic grippers and vacuum systems.”