Printed-electronics timer demonstrates flex electronics possibilities

March 25, 2014 // By Graham Prophet
Describing it as the world's first flexible multi-functional timer, event organisers IDTechEx have co-ordinated the manufacture of samples of a domestic timer that makes use of printing technology, to be distributed at its Printed Electronics Europe conference in Berlin, April 1-2.

A consortium of partners has created the flexible timer based on printed electronics; it consists of an electronic logic circuit implemented with thin film metal oxide transistors, powered by a printed battery, and integrated onto a paper substrate. It has four timing sequences and is designed for multi-functional use across four different applications.

Partners included consumer goods company Procter & Gamble, printed logic company PragmatIC, printed battery supplier Blue Spark Technologies, conductive ink and photonic curing equipment supplier NovaCentrix and Cal Poly, who designed and printed on the paper substrate.

Raghu Das, CEO, of technology scouting and events firm IDTechEx, states "We set out to create an integrated, fully functional device... end user P&G provided valuable insight into consumer requirements, which resulted in specifying and delivering the world's first flexible multi-use timer based on commercially available printed electronics. A timer is one of the basic building blocks that will enable many different products in a modular approach. To reflect that, timers were created for different applications to demonstrate the wide applicability of the device."

Four different application sets were created: a workout timer, a cooking timer, a meeting timer and a children activity timer. Each has four individually controlled timing options, activated by bending or "dog-earing" one of the corners of the paper substrate.

The initial production demonstrates how new applications of electronics in novel form factors can be enabled by printed electronics. Follow-on manufacturing is already planned for later this year, including enhancements to the functionality and even greater integration of the printed electronics.

Conference attendees to Printed Electronics Europe will have the chance to receive the timer on a first-come, first-serve basis, after visiting the companies involved in the project in the tradeshow.

IDTechEx; www.IDTechEx.com

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