Drawing ‘Boards’

Now’s as good a time as ever to be in school, it seems.

At the University of Illinois, scientists have created a roller ball pen that can be used to draw functioning circuit boards. The silver-inked pen can write on paper, wood and other substrates, and “allows one to construct electronic devices ‘on-the-fly,’ ” said the lead researcher, Dr. Jennifer Lewis. “This is an important step toward enabling desktop manufacturing (or personal fabrication) using very low cost, ubiquitous printing tools.”

Also, because robots apparently need to be more sensitive, Technical University Munich researchers have produced small hexagonal plates composed of circuit boards that, when joined together, form a responsive robot skin. Cool stuff. Just don’t tell the movie producers who brought you “The Terminator.”