There are already beer and gin bottles that light up when you touch them, thanks to electroluminescent ink on the labels. Soon we'll also have interactive birthday cards, animated branding, and paper toys that integrate digital games. With lights, moving images, sound and even remotely activated features, print could gain a whole new lease of life.
What makes all this possible is electronic inks, which enable you to print circuitry onto paper - you can even print a battery electrode to power your creation. Of course, you need the right kind of paper too, and Arjowiggins has just launched a stock that enables electronic printing called Powercoat.
The paper is flexible, smooth and allows for high resolution printing right down to five nanometers. It can also withstand high temperatures and doesn't require expensive silver inks to make electronic printing possible. What's more, it's FSC certified and is recyclable and biodegradable.
To find out more about the possibilities on offer with electronic printing, watch for our upcoming feature in issue 211 of Computer Arts, on sale from Thursday 7 February. Now is a good time to start dreaming up ways of using this technology in your future design projects.