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The electrotactile electrodes use 600 nm thick layers of Au in a concentric design, consisting of an inner disk (400 µm radius) surrounded by an outer ring (1000 µm radius) with a 250 µm wide gap between the two. The interconnects consist of 100 µm wide traces of Au in serpentine geometries (radii of curvature ∼800 µm); these traces connect the electrotactile electrodes to Si NM diodes (lateral dimensions of 225 µm x 100 µm and thicknesses of 300 nm). Two layers of Au interconnects (200 and 600 nm thick), isolated by a 1.25 µm PI layer and connected through etched PI vias, establish a compact wiring scheme with overlying interconnects. The 600 nm thick Au interconnect layer allows robust electronic contact though the PI vias. The strain gauge arrays consist of four Si NMs (strips with lateral dimensions of 1 mm x 50 µm and thicknesses of 300 nm) electrically connected by 200 nm thick, 60 µm wide Au traces patterned in serpentine shapes (radii of curvature ∼400 µm). The tactile sensors use 200 nm thick Au electrodes and interconnects in the geometry of the electrotactile arrays but with the concentric electrode pairs replaced by single, disk-shaped electrodes (radii ∼1000 µm).

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The electrotactile electrodes use 600 nm thick layers of Au in a concentric design, consisting of an inner disk (400 µm radius) surrounded by an outer ring (1000 µm radius) with a 250 µm wide gap between the two. The interconnects consist of 100 µm wide traces of Au in serpentine geometries (radii of curvature ∼800 µm); these traces connect the electrotactile electrodes to Si NM diodes (lateral dimensions of 225 µm x 100 µm and thicknesses of 300 nm). Two layers of Au interconnects (200 and 600 nm thick), isolated by a 1.25 µm PI layer and connected through etched PI vias, establish a compact wiring scheme with overlying interconnects. The 600 nm thick Au interconnect layer allows robust electronic contact though the PI vias. The strain gauge arrays consist of four Si NMs (strips with lateral dimensions of 1 mm x 50 µm and thicknesses of 300 nm) electrically connected by 200 nm thick, 60 µm wide Au traces patterned in serpentine shapes (radii of curvature ∼400 µm). The tactile sensors use 200 nm thick Au electrodes and interconnects in the geometry of the electrotactile arrays but with the concentric electrode pairs replaced by single, disk-shaped electrodes (radii ∼1000 µm).

The purpose of the Electric Odyssey was to promote electric mobility to the public at large and to turn people's skepticism into acceptance. If we can do a world tour in a standard electric car, you can use it for your daily rides,” declared crew members Antonin Guy and Xavier Degon.

The two globe-trotters left the French city of Strasbourg on Feb. 11 2012 aboard a C-Zero, a Citroen-branded Mitsubishi iMiEV that utilizes high energy density lithium-ion batteries.

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The C-Zero has a 90-mile autonomy. The complete charge of the Lithium-ion battery is possible in 6 hours using a classic 220V electric outlet. When using a quick charge station (50kW under 400V), 80 percent of the battery can be charged in 30 minutes.

Guy and Degon said that the apparent strain of stopping approximately every 60 miles (100 kms) to charge the car was in fact an opportunity to meet up with the inhabitants of the 17 countries crossed as each day several charging points had to be found, which in the end meant 300 charging points and as many encounters.

The duo said they had a good surprise in Japan. The country is indeed equipped with quick plug-in stations, 20 minutes instead of six hours in average. However, they said they faced the greatest difficulties in the U.S. where it would take 14 hours to recharge the car.

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At the time of the project launch, the estimated total cost of the world tour was between 250 euros ($325) and 500 euros ($650) of electricity, 5 to 7 times cheaper than the same trip using gasoline, engineers said.

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In July of this year, the Global Semiconductor Industry Association reported that the semiconductor industry has continued to see new venture capital (VC) investment diminishing. For the last three years, the amount VCs have invested in semiconductor start-ups has steadily decreased by 5.0 percent, 13.1 percent, and – most recently – 17.2 percent, a sign of maturity and consolidation.

This means that an aging semiconductor industry – that makes the digital life nearly everyone in the world enjoys – must continue to innovate and integrate without easy access to venture funding. Nowhere is the need to innovate and integrate more apparent than in the hotly contested market for chips that populate today's popular consumer devices: smartphones, tablets, and the emerging intelligent devices popping up in energy, medical, and automotive monitoring applications.

The experimental results demonstrate the expected functionality in the electrotactile arrays. Figure 4(a) shows the perception of touch on a dry human thumb as a function of voltage and frequency, applied between the inner dot and outer ring electrodes (figure 3(c)) . The stimulation used a monophasic, square wave with 20 percent duty cycle, generated using a custom setup. The inset provides an image of a device, with connection to external drive electronics via a flexible anisotropic conductive film (ACF). The required voltage for sensation decreases with increasing frequency, consistent with equivalent circuit models of skin impedance that involve resistors and capacitors connected in parallel. The absolute magnitudes of these voltages depend strongly on the skin hydration level, electrode design, and stimulation waveform [23 ]. Figure 4(b) shows I–V characteristics of an electrotactile electrode pair while in contact with a hydrated human thumb, measured through a multiplexing diode. At high positive voltages, the resistance of the diode is negligible compared to the skin; here, the slope of the I–V characteristics yield an estimate of the resistance of the skin–electrode contact plus the skin. The value (∼40 kΩ) is in a range consistent with measurements using conventional devices [24, 25 ]. The diode is stable to at least 20 V, corresponding to currents of 0.25 mA, which is sufficient for electrotactile stimulation on the skin and tongue [2, 6, 7 ].

These diodes enable multiplexed addressing, according to an approach that appears schematically in figure 4(c) . Each unit cell consists of one diode and one electrotactile electrode pair. Figure 4(d) presents a table of the inputs required to address each of the six electrotactile channels. For example, channel SDA can be activating by applying a high potential (+5 V) to inputs A and E and a low potential (0 V) to inputs B, C, and D, thereby yielding a +5 V bias across the outer ring (+5 V) and inner ring electrodes (0 V) of this channel. This configuration forward biases the Si NM diode, which results in a stimulation current, as shown in figure 4(b).

Figure 5 shows a set of straight, uniformly doped Si NMs as strain gauges addressed with interconnects in a mesh geometry. The FEM calculations summarized in figure 5 reveal the strain profiles in a 1 x 4 array of gauges (vertical strips; the yellow dashed box in the upper inset highlights an individual device) on Ecoflex, under a uniaxial in-plane strain of 10 percent. These results show that the overall strain is mostly accommodated by changes in the shapes of the serpentine interconnects and, of course, the Ecoflex itself. The Si NM gauges experience strains (about 10-3 ) that are ten times lower than the applied strain, as shown in the inset in figure 5(a) .

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