Printed electronics: the future at your fingertips

The ever-evolving field of ‘printed electronics’ includes several technologies, but the sector most interesting to designers is where conductive inks containing silver or carbon are used to incorporate circuitry into paper or other thin, flexible materials. When combined with tiny (around 2mm wide) batteries and other miniaturised components, these make printed products interactive in a seamless way that’s light years ahead of the traditionally bulky and breakage-prone electronics found in your average singing greetings card.

“Printed electronics have an advantage in terms of robustness as the components are fundamentally flexible, so they withstand handling more than conventional electronics,” says Scott White, CEO of Cambridge firm PragmatIC Printing, who have created logic circuits that are almost completely transparent.

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