New Printing Technology Turns Paper into Interactive Surfaces

New Printing Technology Turns Paper into Interactive Surfaces

An ordinary sheet of paper is not waterproof, not interactive, nor is it able to harness electricity, but it can be with an advanced new printing technology built at Purdue University. By converting a sheet of notebook paper into a music player, the researchers demonstrated the technique and claimed that it could be scaled up to function for more mainstream applications with larger printing processes. The researchers achieved their success through developing a technique to make paper repellent to water, oil and dust by coating it with highly fluorinated molecules.

The omniphobic coating allowed them to print several layers of circuits on paper without smearing the ink from one layer to the next. With this omniphobic coating as the beginning stage, the researchers were capable of integrating vertical pressure sensors onto the paper. For a number of applications, the technology does not only allow it to become an interactive surface, but also one that can extract energy from user behavior through friction as they apply pressure to the system that can be used to power Bluetooth wireless communication.

The team claimed that the new printing technology they developed is compatible with traditional printing methods. Therefore, it could easily turn ordinary cardboard packaging into smart one. Thus, the team envisions this technology to enable user engagement with product packaging. This could allow users to check if the food is healthy to eat or allow users to sign the package that arrives at home by dragging their finger over the box to correctly mark themselves as the package owner. Furthermore, the devices are cheap to print.

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