Thinfilm Demonstrates First Integrated Printed Electronic System

Posted: Dec 21st, 2012

QDOTS imagesCAKXSY1K 8(Nanowerk News) Thin Film Electronics ASA announced the  first proof-of-concept prototype of an integrated printed electronic tag based  on rewritable memory. The printed electronic label, consisting of printed  memory, sensor and logic, detects that critical temperature thresholds have been  exceeded and records data digitally for later retrieval and display.
Such labels can deliver item-level tracking of quality data for  goods such as pharmaceuticals and perishable foods. The Thinfilm integrated  system shows how low-cost, disposable printed electronic technology will provide  information about product history based on data stored in Thinfilm Memory™.
“Integration of functionality is one of the most compelling  benefits of printed electronics. Demonstrating an integrated, interactive  prototype tag is a significant commercial breakthrough for the printed  electronics industry. The Thinfilm system prototype shows that multiple  electronic functions can be delivered on an electronic, disposable tag,” said  Raghu Das, IDTechEx.
Three different printed devices—memory, logic, and temperature  sensor—were shown to work together sensing a temperature threshold and writing  to memory. The gathered data triggered a display through external circuitry to  illustrate the tags’ expected commercial functionality.  Integrating memory,  logic, sensors and displays using printed circuitry is critical for the delivery  of cost-effective, mass-produced printed electronic devices.
“The promise of printed electronics rests on its ability to  catalyze the coming technology wave often referred to as the Internet of Things.  Making electronics ubiquitous requires not only cheap components but also ways  of integrating them. The ability to store, process, and communicate local  information makes ordinary objects aware of their environment. These smart  objects become our agents, gathering actionable data, and displaying it when we  need to get involved. Whether sensing temperature or communicating other  hazards, Thinfilm sensor tags follow the product to the last mile, in  applications where conventional electronic measurement systems often cannot be  deployed, either because of cost or a lack of tailorability to individual  product packaging,” said Davor Sutija, CEO of Thinfilm.
The Thinfilm Temperature Sensor prototype integrates components  developed by several Thinfilm eco-system partners. PARC led development of the  organic logic circuitry within design rules and functional specifications  provided by Thinfilm. PST Sensors provided the fully printed thermistor, and  ACREO supplied the electrochromic display.
“This demonstration is a key step towards Intelligent Packaging,  and contributes directly to the Bemis Intelligent Packaging Platform that we are  creating with Thinfilm,” said Don Nimis, President of Shield Pack, a division of  Bemis Company, Inc., one of the world’s leaders in food and medical products  packaging. “Intelligent Packaging will help Bemis customers monitor the quality  of their products individually and consistently.”
In this video, hot and cold objects are  respectively placed on a temperature sensor. When the temperature exceeds a  pre-designed threshold, the fact is stored into the Thinfilm Memory through  organic logic. An ultra-low-cost display is used to show whether the temperature  threshold was exceeded.
Additional circuitry, including a timer function and wireless  communication, will be added to the system. Commercial availability is expected  by the end of 2014.
Thinfilm’s printed electronic technology has been singled out  for praise from a variety of sources. Most recently Thinfilm won the World  Technology Innovation Award for materials and was named a runner-up for the  Technology Innovation Award for Semiconductors by The Wall Street Journal. This  recognition follows important printed electronics industry awards earlier this  year from both the FlexTech Alliance and IDTechEx. Thinfilm was also recently  recognized by GigaOm as one of the 15 Most Innovative Companies in mobile.
Portions of this work were funded by Innovation Norway, and by  Flextech Alliance. Thinfilm and its partners gratefully acknowledge their  support.
About Thinfilm
Thin Film Electronics ASA is a leader in the development of  printed electronics. The first to commercialize printed rewritable memory,  Thinfilm is creating printed system products that will include memory, sensing,  display and wireless communication—at a cost-per-functionality unmatched by any  other electronic technology.  Thinfilm’s roadmap of system products integrates  technology from a strong and growing ecosystem of partners to enable the  Internet of Things by bringing intelligence to disposable goods. Company  headquarters are in Oslo, Norway, with product development in Linköping, Sweden,  sales offices in San Francisco, USA, and Tokyo, Japan, and manufacturing in  Pyongtaek, South Korea.
Source: Thinfilm (press  release)