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Ancient paper art, kirigami, poised to improve smart clothing

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Donny Stiteler
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BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Like a yoga novice, electronic components don't stretch easily.

But that's changing thanks to a variation of origami that involves cutting folded pieces of paper.

In a study published April 2 in the journal Advanced Materials, a University at Buffalo-led research team describes how kirigami has inspired its efforts to build malleable electronic circuits.

Their innovation -- creating tiny sheets of strong yet bendable electronic materials made of select polymers and nanowires -- could lead to improvements in smart clothing, electronic skin and other applications that require pliable circuitry.

"Traditional electronics, like the printed circuit boards in tablets and other electronic devices, are rigid.

That's not a good match for the human body, which is full of bends and curves, especially when we are moving, says lead author Shenqiang Ren, professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

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