Printable electronics

I meant to post this a month ago when I went to an evening at the Hospital Club organised by Tom le Bree under the vague Moniker – And then the world presents..The internet of things. From the earliest days on the web it was possible to ping Coke vending machines to see if the machine needing refilling – useful for coke but hardly life changing for the rest of us. There were a couple of presentations which for me fell into the So what category – a perfume generator that squirts out a fab smell if you receive a tweet from your current squeeze and a whiff of sulphur if you get a tweet from your ex. Well its hardly the stuff of revolution.

What was more interesting was the demonstration by Dr Kate Stone of Novalia. She is pioneering the printing of electronics onto paper and cellophane. And inevitably everyone has got and idea or five about what would be a brilliant business. What she needs is investment in a solid business idea. Her demos included paper that played tunes. Which looks a lot like the reinvention of the musical birthday card. Which is hardly new. What was more interesting was the possibility of including bar code reading and wifi as part of the design. Where this is leading is the idea of having surveys on a sheet of card which can be handed out at exhibitions and completed and returned (or thrown away but the data gathered through wifi). Now that wifi is about to hit the London Underground I was intrigued by the possibility that tube cards could be turned into data capture and registration devices which could send data through the system. The major problem as far as I can see if why you would use a piece of paper to do what your mobile phone is perfectly capable of doing. Kate Stone claims that an ipad will be able to be printed on a single sheet of paper within a few years. Yes but which would you rather have an Ipad or an Ipad paper pad?





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