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Flexible electronic systems have been popular for many decades now. It is generally possible that anything short will become flexible. While cables and wiring are the most flexible examples, it wasn't until after the Space Race that silicon wafers used as the energy source of satellite cells were thinned for increased power. Those principles allowed early flexible solar cells during the 1960s (Crabb and Treble 1967).
Materials and Methods
In the past few years, many research groups have been focusing on developing flexible electronics that can be conveniently wrapped around or embedded into objects or materials without much effort. This section outlines some essential nanomaterials and techniques used for flexible electronic devices.
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Carbon nanotubes ( CNT ) are tubular carbon molecules with a diameter of 1–2 nm and a length typically 1–100 μm found in a variety of forms, including multi-walled tubes (MWCNT), double-walled tubes (DWNT), and single-walled tubes (SWCNT). They exhibit extraordinary mechanical properties such as high tensile strength and stiffness. The excellent electrical conductivity and mechanical properties of CNTs make them unique. Researchers such as Kroto (1991) were the first to point out that when formed into tubes, carbon atoms could align themselves in graphite-like sheets but roll up to form tiny tubes with diameters around a nanometer. Many other researchers have reported the synthesis of CNT. Tubes can also be produced using a template or a surfactant or produced from the gas phase by arc discharge technique.
Inorganic thin films have been used extensively for flexible electronic applications because these thin films are stable against mechanical deformations. Hence, their electrical performance is not affected even after extensive bending. It is also possible to integrate flexible devices with larger-area electronics such as cathode ray tubes ( CRTs ) and liquid crystal displays ( LCDs ). However, inorganic thin films are restricted to large-area applications because of their brittleness. Self-organization of inorganic nanowires into flexible coaxial structures overcomes this drawback.
Nanomaterials: Organic Semiconductors
Nature uses organic semiconductors for various functions. The development of synthetic counterparts would open up new possibilities for electronic applications. Therefore, much research has focused on developing novel polymer semiconductor materials with good electrical performance similar to highly doped inorganic semiconductors. For example, poly(phenylene vinylene) (PPV) is a leading candidate for optoelectronic and electronic devices due to its high electron mobility and good light-emitting characteristics. Doped PPVs such as N, N′-dioctyl-3,4,9,10-perylene tetracarboxylic diimide ( PTCDI-C8 ) have been used in many optoelectronic devices such as polymer light-emitting diodes (PLEDs) and organic solar cells.
Graphene is an atomically thin hexagonal sheet of carbon atoms that possess unique properties such as superior mechanical strength, excellent electrical conductivity and thermal conductivity. These properties make graphene an ideal material for flexible electronics ( de Heer et al., 2004 ). In addition, graphene can be made at room temperature and pressure using chemical vapour deposition.
Many organic semiconductors are synthesized from solution or suspension rather than grown, which is why they have good flexibility. Many advancements have been made in polymer-based optoelectronic devices such as light-emitting diodes (LEDs), organic solar cells, field-effect transistors (FETs), photodetectors, etc. that rely on thin-film processing techniques for fabricating these devices on surfaces of various substrates including plastic films transparent glass, flexible metal foils, etc. The advantage of polymer semiconductors over their inorganic counterparts is that they can be processed as a thin film without causing any damage to other substrates.
Nanomaterials: Carbon Nanotubes
Carbon nanotube ( CNT ) successfully combines the properties of metals and semiconductors, which creates a unique opportunity for flexible electronics. In addition, it possesses good mechanical strength and chemical stability. The critical issue with developing CNT-based devices was their nonavailability in a form required for device fabrication. A separate cleanroom has been used to develop CNT-based devices because handling these requires special care. Researchers have developed inkjet printing techniques for depositing carbon nanotube films on flexible substrates to develop flexible electronic and optoelectronic devices ( Dai et al. 2001 ).
Nanomaterials: Quantum Dots
Quantum dots (QDs) are nanosized inorganic semiconductor materials that exhibit size-dependent optical and electrical properties such as bandgap energy, charge carrier density, etc. The size of QDs can be varied from monomers to large aggregates by changing synthesis conditions such as temperature, the concentration of precursors, etc.; the highest reported value is about 30 nm; however, it fluctuates with changes in synthesis conditions. Therefore, this upper limit for the size of quantum dots is not yet decided. Furthermore, synthesizing QDs with controlled shape morphology provides more control over their properties than other nanoparticles. For example, alloyed quantum dots exhibit many interesting optical and electrical properties that cannot be achieved with alloys of conventional inorganic semiconductors due to the lack of a large number of bandgap energy levels in these materials. Therefore, QDs are highly attractive for electronic applications such as light-emitting diodes (LEDs), solar cells, photodetectors, etc., because they possess good electrical conductivity, high electron mobility, and tunable bandgaps depending on their size.
CNTs can be synthesized by various methods such as the arc discharge method flame synthesis approach CVD; however, these approaches pose a risk to human health because they involve using hazardous chemicals (such as hydrocarbons) or generating harmful waste products. As a result, many researchers have developed CNTs-based devices using the CVD method for flexibility, easy fabrication, and compatibility with conventional semiconductor processes.
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Graphene has emerged as one of the most promising materials for flexible electronic applications because it is a zero bandgap semiconductor with high carrier mobility. Its electrical and mechanical properties can be tuned by changing its structure ( de Heer et al., 2004 ). The two-dimensional (2D) nature of graphene provides unique device geometry for flexible electronics; however, its lack of an energy gap limits effective transport through the material without voltage applied. Researchers have developed p-n junctions in graphene and studied their basic properties, such as rectification, photodetection, photodetection; Bharathi "et al." demonstrated n-p heterojunction in graphene photoresponse by measuring the photocurrent generated under illumination ( Bharathi et al. 2010 ).
Cheap nanowire transistor
This lack of an energy gap makes graphene unsuitable for digital applications on flexible substrates. Researchers have developed alloyed heterojunctions in graphene, but off-current flow due to leakage current is a significant challenge associated with these systems (So far, this problem has not been solved). Graphene also has low mechanical strength and exhibits a relatively high electron-phonon scattering rate compared to 2D semiconductor materials such as transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs) or monolayer transition metal oxides (TMOs). It consists of sp 2 -hybridized carbon atoms. This challenges the development of devices based on graphene for wearable electronics because they are often subjected to bending.
TMDs such as MoS 2 and WS 2 exhibit a bandgap of about 1.2 eV, more significant than graphene (0 eV) and hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN; 0.3–0.5 eV). The large bandgap makes TMDs suitable for applications in digital electronics based on flexible substrates because it facilitates maximum current flow through the device when no voltage is applied, unlike graphene, where there is no energy gap resulting in leakage current even with the absence of voltage. In addition, TMDs also show good room-temperature electron mobilities up to 100 cm²/Vs by using potential chemical control similar to traditional semiconductor materials. These properties make TMDs a promising material for flexible electronics. Hence, researchers have developed p-n junctions in TMD monolayers and studied their basic photo-physical properties, such as photoresponse, by measuring the photocurrent generated under light illumination ( Liu et al., 2007 ).
TMOs such as WO 3 and MoO 3 show significant excitonic effects at room temperature due to their direct bandgap nature. This makes these materials more suitable for optical devices than graphene, where the bandgap energy depends strongly on the Fermi level position due to its zero bandgap property. In addition, TMOs possess good mechanical flexibility while retaining good electrical conductivity, which makes them suitable candidates for optoelectronic applications. Researchers have explored TMOs for flexible electronics by fabricating p-n junctions (Wu et al., 2009 ).
Wearable devices such as watches and bright clothing that sense touch, acceleration, temperature, humidity, etc., are used in diverse applications such as health care and emergency rescue operations. To achieve this goal, these devices should be designed to be flexible and lightweight with minimum power consumption (< 10 µA), high sensitivity (10 mV/g), and high signal-to-noise ratio (> 80 dB). However, existing materials cannot meet all of these requirements simultaneously due to their intrinsic properties; for example, semiconductor nanowires show good electrical conductivity but low mechanical flexibility, while graphene shows excellent mechanical flexibility but low electrical conductivity.
Researchers have used graphene for fabricating flexible touch sensors, which are capable of achieving high sensitivity (0.1 V/g) and a high signal-to-noise ratio (> 80 dB). However, the power consumption of such devices is as high as 10 µA due to the low electrical conductivity of graphene. Researchers have demonstrated that metal oxide nanowires show good flexibility with Young's modulus as large as 110 GPa and an extremely low electrical resistivity compared to semiconductor materials such as Si and MoS 2 . Metal oxide nanowires also exhibit photodetection photodetector to those in TMDs. Researchers at IBM Zurich Research Laboratory fabricated p-n junctions in InAs/GaAs metal oxides nanowires for optoelectronic applications ( Calderoni et al., 2012 ).
A critical theme in photonics is to explore light-matter interactions at the nanoscale. For example, optical communications are taking place on optical fibres at hundreds of Gbits/s because fibre optic cable can transmit a more significant amount of data than metal wires. However, the transmission speed at room temperature is limited by scattering over material interfaces during signal propagation along a wire or an optical fibre. Photodetectors that convert electromagnetic radiation into electrical current are used to overcome this problem since they have no issue with waveguide loss due to their small dimensions. Furthermore, if these devices can be fabricated using flexible substrates, it will significantly enhance the performance of free space photonics devices.
Researchers have developed flexible photodetectors with sheet resistance as low as 10 Ω/sq (120 Ω/sq measured on a sapphire substrate) for telecommunications wavelengths using metal oxide nanowires (CdO, ZnO, and In 2 O 3 ). It is shown that this high resistivity is due to the low carrier mobility in these materials caused by their disordered structures. Researchers have used graphene instead of metal oxides to show superior photodetection com wavelengths. However, the reported sensitivity of 1 A/W for graphene photodetector was limited by the quality of the material, which several orders of magnitude could improve. Researchers continue to investigate other flexible materials such as atomically thin TMDs to construct flexible photodetectors.
In conclusion, several themes have emerged in the emerging field of flexible electronics. One theme is to explore new semiconductor materials that exhibit a high degree of flexibility and low resistance in optoelectronics applications. The second theme focuses on improving device performance by maximizing conductivity while minimizing sheet resistance without compromising other superior properties such as mechanical flexibility or carrier mobility at room temperature. Finally, researchers are investigating new fabrication techniques based on 3-D printing to construct electronics with the desired shape and size.
What are flexible electronic devices?
Delicate, flexible electronic devices that can conform to our bodies' shape could open many doors for future applications. Flexible electronics are based on bending or stretching materials without breaking (flexible), like rubber bands (elastomeric). This electronics class would allow engineers and researchers to create new gadgets, such as wearable sensors that monitor health-related data or medical lab tests, interior coatings that indicate damage, stretchable displays that roll up, implantable circuits that communicate with other biological systems within the body.
What is an elastomer?
An elastomer is a material whose crosslinked network possesses elastic properties over a specific temperature range. Elastomers are polymers with an unbranched backbone chain, like polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS). The two most common types of elastomers are silicone and natural rubber.
What makes up an electronic device?
Electronic devices contain active components such as semiconductors used to amplify or switch signals; passive components, like resistors that block electrical currents; and wires that connect these active and passive components. Engineers use lithography to etch patterns on a substrate to make circuit connections; they also add metal electrodes called interconnects by hand to form circuits. However, these steps can be costly and time-consuming when fabricating large arrays of conventional electronic devices like transistors, diodes, or metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistors (MOSFETs).
What are the components of an electronic device?
There are four essential components in electronics: semiconductors, conductors, insulators, and surfaces. Semiconductors are materials with properties between conductors and insulators; they can be made to act either by adding impurities during manufacturing or applying an external voltage through field-effect transistors (FETs). The electrical conductivity increases as the temperature increases, while that of an insulator decreases with increasing temperature. Insulators can be used for thin layers to separate conductive materials. Surfaces play essential roles in all electronic devices because they affect how electrons interact and move around. For example, electrons tend to avoid the surface of a material, and this effect is used in a semiconductor device called a MOSFET.
The term "flexible" has been applied to many materials for different applications in electronic devices. For example, flexible organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) are based on thin films of carbon-containing polymers that emit lights when an electric current is applied. In contrast, flexible solar cells use stretchable semiconductors such as amorphous silicon or organic materials attached to clothes or textiles. Flexible electrodes made from silver nanowire mesh were recently tested for recording brain signals and working on human prosthetics. Dallas's group at the University of Texas designed flexible substrates decorated with silver nanowires using anodization.
What are 3-D printing methods?
3-D printers can create three-dimensional objects by depositing one layer at a time. Then, engineers use 2-D patterns to guide the printer's nozzle. Research has created electronic devices ranging from antennas and RFID tags to LEDs and silicon circuits using this flexible electronics technology. Two commercial 3-D printers include fused deposition modelling (FDM), which uses melted plastic or wax and selective laser sintering, which uses fine powders heated locally with precision lasers. Researchers also design low-cost fabrication processes using consumer-grade inkjet printers for mass production.
What are some applications for flexible electronics?
Flexible electronic devices have been tested in wearable biomedical sensors or patches that eliminate the need to use needles or wires to sample blood, sweat, or saliva. Flexible sensors made from nanomaterials were also used as stretchable interconnects for printed circuits composed of silver nanowires. However, the first generations of these wearables are very expensive because they are made using conventional semiconductor manufacturing processes. Now companies are using 3-D printing to produce disposable diagnostics at lower costs that can be placed on temporary tattoos worn by patients diagnosed with infectious diseases like Ebola and malaria. This method could replace the cumbersome coloured lines often drawn on a patient's arm with symbols indicating their treatment.
What are some possible limitations of flexible electronics?
There are concerns about the use of nanomaterials in consumer products. The long-term side effects on humans are unknown because most studies have used cells instead of living tissues. In addition, wearable electronic devices need additional components like solar cells, batteries, or wireless communication tools to function outside a laboratory fully. There is also limited user experience with commercial 3-D printers, so it may take time for engineers to design printable electronic materials and fabrication processes that can withstand stress during manufacturing, repeated bending, and other natural conditions experienced by wearable devices.
Why are flexible electronic devices used?
Flexible electronic devices are being developed so humans can have more control over biosensing and other tasks in the 3rd dimension. Engineers want to design sensors that wrap around objects to create curved interconnects or stretchable displays for wearable computers. Flexible nanomaterials show promise in biosensors that detect biomarkers found in blood or saliva samples used for diagnosing diseases like cancer or infectious conditions. While wearables are not new, engineers constantly improve existing technologies while designing new methods of interacting with our surroundings through electronics embedded inside textiles and other flexible materials.
When did this technology begin?
Research has been conducted since the late 1990s using printed transistors on plastic sheets similar to transparent cling wraps used to store leftovers in a refrigerator. Flexible, transparent solar cells were demonstrated in 2008, and by 2009, scientists made the first flexible radio-frequency (RFID) tag and battery using nanomaterials. Since then, the technology has become more widespread by incorporating organic LEDs (OLEDs) onto nonplanar surfaces and designing wearable biomedical sensors.
What companies or organizations are working with this type of research?
Organic printed electronics are studied at laboratories like MIT Wearable Electronics Research Group, the University of Tokyo, and Seoul National University. Companies like LG Display, LG Chem, and Konica Minolta also conduct much of this research which can be used to develop commercial devices that take advantage of unique properties found in nanomaterials.
What engineering problems need to be solved?
Engineers face similar issues for flexible electronics as they do with traditional silicon semiconductor devices. The most obvious difference is how these products are manufactured, packaged, and used, which requires engineers to design new fabrication methods and integrate them into commercial products like clothing or consumer goods. Flexible integrated circuits (FIC) must adhere permanently to fabrics and surfaces after being damaged by repeated bending and twisting motions. Current FICs can only be bent a few times before they break apart. Hence, engineers need to improve the manufacturing processes of nanomaterials using roll-to-roll printing techniques that create large sheets of transparent electrodes onto plastic films or nonwoven textiles instead of fabric threads. There are also challenges in designing nanomaterials that are compatible with the manufacturing of commercial products. For example, some low-cost, flexible electronics use polyethylene terephthalate (PET) films which require additional steps to remove organic solvents during fabrication. Researchers need to develop novel fabrication techniques using printing or other harsh chemicals like acetone or ethanol, which can be toxic for humans and disrupt biological processes on the skin.
What breakthroughs could happen?
Engineers may design sensors to detect more complex conditions than simple touch, pressure, or temperature readings. Chemical indicators used in consumer goods like air fresheners or car deodorizers will one day be embedded into textiles, plastics, and other surfaces so people can interact with their surroundings by touching an object instead of a wall or a handle. Researchers at Seoul National University have developed research textiles that can detect blood glucose levels, giving people with diabetes the ability to measure their condition without pricking their skin for a blood sample.
Engineers may also design flexible batteries and solar cells to allow people to power wearable computers, sensors, or other electronic devices without carrying additional accessories or occasionally charging throughout the day. Most batteries used today are rigid objects with metallic casings. Still, engineers have found new ways of designing nanomaterials to replace traditional methods using thin-film lithium-ion batteries that are lighter and more flexible than standard commercial products.
What economic impact could this have?
The market for flexible electronics is expected to grow from USD 6 million in 2012 to $12.6 billion by 2020, according to MarketsandMarkets, a flexible electronics market research firm that specializes in business intelligence for emerging technologies. In addition, consumers buy most electronic devices, so they will play an essential role in developing wearable technology.
Consumer demand will drive engineers and manufacturers to develop new products at affordable prices so more people can take advantage of wearable electronics like smart textiles or other human augmentation technologies. Flexible batteries or solar cells used for powering medical sensors or consumer products could also reduce the amount of waste associated with disposing of dead batteries containing toxic materials like lithium-ion compounds.
What advice would you give someone who wanted to pursue this as a career?
Engineers interested in flexible electronics need experience with the latest fabrication methods and techniques. They should also take physics, chemistry, and biology classes to understand the behaviour of materials under different conditions like temperature, light exposure, or other environmental factors.
Engineers who work in research and development must also be creative problem solvers with an eye for detail. They will need to experiment with new ways of designing flexible circuits during product testing after prototypes are manufactured by a large company like Samsung Electronics or LG Electronics.
Engineers who work in production must also meet tight deadlines that may involve shipping products to consumers or retailers as soon as they're ready without losing too much money from the development process.
Sometimes, flexible electronic devices are still more expensive than their standard counterparts for smartphones or televisions, so a manufacturer might miss a sale if there's no way of reducing prices quickly enough.
Engineers working in R&D will constantly need to find new ways of designing nanomaterials and components for flexible electronics since there is always a push by companies like LG Electronics to reduce costs while increasing product quality.
Computer scientists may also help develop software that could track steps or other data from wearable technology because today's apps have been designed for touch screens instead of wearable devices.
What the future holds
The majority of flexible devices produced today are medical sensors or clothing. Still, researchers at Cheongju University in South Korea have developed a bendable paper called "Kami" that can be used as the basis for electronic flexible displays.
Engineers are also working on integrating virtual reality technologies into eyeglasses or contact lenses so people can experience augmented reality without needing additional equipment like smartphones, handheld computers, or game consoles. Flexible batteries and solar cells might also power tactile devices for blind people that convert text to Braille patterns to read more easily without having to decipher tiny letters on regular paper.
Flexible consumer electronics will play an essential role in transforming our society since there's always something new being discovered every year, making it easier for consumers and manufacturers to adapt shortly.
Five Current Trends in Next Generation Flexible Electronics
1. Wearable Devices - Smartphones and other electronic products are becoming popular in the consumer market. Hence, there's a growing interest in developing flexible devices to augment human capabilities like clothing or textiles.
2. Flat Panels - The future of displays and lighting will involve technologies that can be rolled out quickly and easily without forcing manufacturers to make significant changes to their production lines. Currently, most televisions and smartphones use flat glass screens, but engineers are working on ways to produce them more affordably with organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs).
3. Solar Power - Flexible solar cells can be printed onto functional materials like plastic or cloth using inkjet printers instead of fabricating them into large panels that require special equipment or handling. Smaller solar cells might power wearable devices so people can recharge their iPods, smartphones, and other gadgets while they're on the go.
4. Data Analytics - The internet of things (IoT) is a growing trend in technology that involves connecting everyday objects to computer networks so they can be tracked remotely instead of tracking manually with magnetic tags or barcodes. Flexible components like sensors are more compact than standard hardware, so they could also play an essential role in collecting data for analytics platforms using cloud computing.
5. Customizable Designs - 3D printing is becoming popular among the general consumer market because it offers customized products at lower prices than mass manufacturing. However, some printers still cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. There's also the issue of product lifespans since 3D components are effectively disposable, so engineers need to create a system for printers to be quickly and easily refilled.
Engineers, computer scientists, manufacturers, and other professionals in relevant disciplines will always have their hands complete with improving flexible electronics because there's no telling what might happen next in this industry. But, like most novel concepts in technology, people have to take steps into the unknown every once in a while if they want to leave a mark on society or improve their own lives, even if it means taking some risks.
It can be designed by hand or on computer-aided design (CAD) software like Eagle. Companies like Apple and Microsoft use their CAD systems for prototyping products before sending manufacturing contracts out to third-party suppliers. Of course, these companies also produce their components in-house, but it's much less expensive to outsource specific processes, especially those that don't require as much investment upfront.
The world is still waiting for the "iPhone 8" to drop - whenever that happens since Apple tends to play its cards close to its chest to reveal upcoming products. Still, rumours are swirling around the internet about what we can expect from their next flagship device. Most people think it'll look like the iPhone 7 with some innovative changes here and there, but nobody could have predicted what happened when Apple unveiled the all-new iPhone X in September.
Some phone analysts and tech bloggers initially thought the "X" in the device's name stood for "ten," referring to its tenth anniversary. Still, Apple surprised everyone with some wordplay by renaming its latest smartphone as pronounced like the number "ex." So it stands for "ten," or more precisely, ten years of iPhones since that's how long Steve Jobs worked on this project before he died in 2011.
That probably explains why it costs $1,000 because no other flagship smartphone has ever been sold at such a high price point, even though some Android competitors are priced similarly. Most people would be hesitant to spend that much money on a smartphone when they could pick up an older device for half the cost.
The iPhone X isn't just expensive because it can process data faster and run more impressive apps than previous models; it's also fragile, light, and sturdy, with a glass front and back, encased in stainless steel instead of aluminum like other flagship smartphones. It has an edge-to-edge display like the iPhone 8, but since there's no home button to accommodate, Apple created a new swipe gesture that lets users navigate through menus or close apps by simply swiping from one side of the screen the other.
Apple used touch ID (fingerprint sensor) technology for several years until it introduced facial software exclusively for this new smartphone during the September 12 keynote presentation. It's called Face ID, and it's similar to Touch ID in many ways, but there are significant differences that make it safer, more secure, and easier to use. First, instead of having to press your finger onto a button or keep it in front of a camera for several seconds, all you have to do is hold up the iPhone X in front of your face, then look at it until little hearts float around on the screen.
It uses the phone's front-facing camera and infrared sensors designed by Apple itself (most Android phones rely on third-party components), so it knows precisely where users' eyes are looking during processing time which takes place locally within milliseconds uploading data server-side like traditional facial recognition software.
People can unlock their phones and authenticate Apple Pay transactions with this new technology. Still, there are one drawback users have to be aware of: it doesn't work if you're wearing glasses or recently had cosmetic surgery because infrared sensors are unable to identify your face without accurate eye contact quickly. There are other security features built into the device, so it inserts a mask over your eyes when you first set up Face ID then asks for your passcode just in case someone tries using the "forget password" function to break into your phone.
It also has an animated emoji feature called Animoji that mimic whatever facial expression you make by tracking more than 50 different muscle movements on your face during real-time processing time, which is awe-inspiring technology not because it's fun to play around with but because it shows how fast the iPhone X processes data. With other flagship smartphones, you'd have to wait several seconds before anything pops up on the screen after making a specific expression. But then, there are also time lags when everything would freeze for longer than expected.
However, that's not an issue here because you can send messages or post photos to social media immediately without worrying about any problems, so Animoji is basically like iMessage stickers except far more advanced. For example, suppose you raise your eyebrows three times quickly. In that case, the animated emoji will readjust its eyes based on your movements, so if someone sends you a message saying, "Are you ok?" it'll automatically look up at you then down again.
It also works with Apple Music, so if a song comes on and you start dancing, the emoji will do the same without any input on your part. It doesn't even have to be synced with your music library because Siri can play anything from third-party streaming services or traditional radio stations, so you don't have to go through many menus to find a specific song. The app adapts based on what you're doing, too, so if you're talking to someone, it'll turn into a chat interface while running other apps will show floating windows similar to certain Samsung smartphones that appear when users hold down their home button or tap an NFC tag.
In addition to the Animoji feature, Apple has implemented a brand new gesture control system called Face ID, where users can swipe up from the middle of their screen to access the home screen. It's a lot faster than dragging your thumb up or pressing a small fingerprint sensor button in an awkward position, so it makes for smooth transitions when moving from app to app.
Apple is also using TrueDepth front-facing camera technology. Hence, developers have access to over 50 different facial expressions and movements when creating apps because these capabilities were impossible before with traditional smartphones due to limitations in processing power. In addition, now everything can be done locally without uploading anything server-side, which means users are only responsible for sending images/videos back and forth between their device, Apple's server, and whoever they're talking to.
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