It’s a tough time for the global supply of electronics. The main culprits are geopolitical turmoil, the industry’s environmental impact, and unsustainable manufacturing. After Russia invaded Ukraine, prices for palladium and nickel went through the roof. In addition to the widespread supply chain disruption, heavy metals and other toxins are finding their way into our rivers and oceans. The electronics sector itself accounts for 3.7% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.
When looking for solutions sometimes fate throws up something we don’t expect. Far from complex chemicals or obscure minerals, could something as ubiquitous as the wood in our forests be the answer?
1. Cellulose speeds up 6G
Imagine being able to connect your brain – your actual brain – to electronic devices. Do something as simple as switch TV channels with a thought or, something as complex as control a robotic arm. This is the ultimate promise of 6G: a wireless technology with speeds that are 8,000 times faster than existing 5G.
This nascent tech is still in development, but being able to bring it to life will require massive amounts of components. The pressures on the industry could throw a spanner in the works unless new, more bountiful materials are found. That’s where wood comes in.
Experts at the University of Oulu in Finland are at the forefront of research in 6G – the next stage of evolution in cellular communication. Designed to operate at higher radio frequencies than existing 5G networks, they could provide significantly faster data transfer rates and enable more effective Internet of Things (IoT) communication.