As our world becomes more technology infused, it means there is an increasing number of old gadgets that eventually end up in landfills when they can no longer be useful anymore. Even if we give or sell our old smartphones to people who need them when we upgrade, and even if someone uses them after that… eventually they become unusable, and that’s when they become a hazard to our environment. Finding better e-waste disposal methods is tricky, but this new innovation could put us on the right track.
Think how much e-waste disposal would be improved if old tech could simply vanish. Yes, I’m talking about disappearing gadgets, or more specifically, gadgets that dissolve in water when they are no longer useful. If we had this now, suddenly discarded bits of tech wouldn’t have such a disturbing effect on our planet.
John Rogers and a team at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are currently working on a project that involves “transient technology,” which they hope could make e-waste disposal a lot more environmentally friendly. They envision a world where our gadgets would essentially self-destruct (in a very controlled way) at the end of their life cycle.
The team at the University still have a long way to go with their research and development, so don’t expect this to become mainstream anytime soon. They have a few hurdles to overcome, like how to make sure the gadgets wouldn’t dissolve if you accidentally dropped your phone in the toilet for example. Plus, there is the issue of making sure the actual chemicals used to create this dissolvable tech are environmentally friendly.
They are making great progress though. They’ve already designed a computer chip that is built on a silk film that will completely dissolve when it gets wet. Who knows, maybe this will end up being the answer to better tech disposal.
Better E-Waste Disposal With Gadgets That Dissolve In Water
(only when you’re finished with them of course)