Commercialization — the long-awaited Holy Grail of the fledgling printed-electronics industry — appears to be happening, at least for some specific products. My recent tour of the Printed Electronics USA 2012 event last week in Santa Clara, CA, revealed more examples of real-world apps beyond the now-ubiquitous e-paper readers.
Some descriptions follow:
Cambrios ClearOhm™ transparent conductive material is starting to replace indium tin oxide (ITO) for touchscreen apps. One example is the LG Electronics CEM division’s use in the 23-in. touch panel for the LG V325, a new Windows 8-certified All-in-One PC (see above). Cambrios, which won the 2012 Best Product Development Award at the show, have created the silver nanowire-based ClearOhm solution to provide high conductivity (ranging from <10 to 300 Ohms/sq) with optical performance that reportedly exceeds that of ITO. The suspended-nanowire solution is said to be coatable at low processing temperatures (<120 deg C) onto various glass or plastic substrates.
The InflataCorset from Sensoree is an auto-inflating vest triggered by a printed-electronics, internal heart-rate sensor (left). When the heart reaches an excited state, the corset inflates to hug the wearer and calm the nervous system; then, the heart returns to a resting rate. The design is based on research to augment Sensory Processing Disorder — hypersensitivity which ranges from ADHD to autism. The entire process from sensor trigger to inflation and deflation can take only 30 seconds. The instant relaxation from the corset is a type of therapeutic bio.media that can be applied to many patient populations. The corset ensures that the heart rate is never overexcited and stays in an optimal state.
Bluestone Global Tech introduced what it says is the first ITO-free touch-switch device enabled by high-quality graphene film (left). The component reportedly has outstanding electrical conductivity and transparency. Using BGT’s Grat-FilmTM the device has 98% light transmittance and low resistance of <250 Ohms/sq. The film transfers to glass, quarts and flexible substrates such as PMMA and PET films.
Among other news at this year’s show and conference:
- By 2022, the global printed-electronics market will be worth US$63.28 billion, according to a presentation by IDTechEx CEO Raghu Das. This year, the market for printed and thin-film electronics will be US$9.46 billion — 42.5% of which will be predominately organics such as OLED display modules, and 30% of the total will be printed. Initially photovoltaics, OLEDs and e-paper displays will grow rapidly, then followed by thin-film transistor circuits, sensors and batteries.
- Oslo, Norway-based Thin Film Electronics ASA says it has completed an entire process chain for high-volume, real-world deployments of printed memory circuits. The system includes R2R memory printing at Inktec using Thinfilm’s patent-pending, dual-layer protection; R2R testing equipment capable of millions of measurements a month; diecutting and label conversion of the printed memory roll at Topflight; and automated application of memory labels to branded cards for shipment direct to customers. During the show, the company distributed thousands of Thinfilm Memory Cards, as part of an info-kiosk demo.
- MD-based Vorbeck Materials Corp. has been awarded a two-year, $1.5 million grant from the US Dept. of Energy to develop a low-cost, fast-charging battery for hybrid vehicles based on lithium-sulfur chemistries, which have a greater energy density compared to today’s lithium-ion batteries. Vorbeck’s battery technology uses patented graphene technology, known as Vor-x®, which has the potential to shorten recharge times by factor of three, maintain high battery capacity and increase the efficiency of hybrid vehicles by up to 20%.
For more on the 2012 Printed Electronics USA Award winners, click HERE.