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Posts tagged ‘Thinfilm’

Printed Sensors Could Help Save You From Spoiled Food

From Wired:

Whenever I pick up a package of frozen raw meat from the grocery store, I wonder, “Has this been frozen the whole time? How many times did it thaw and re-freeze?” It’s a disquieting thought, especially because there’s currently no easy way to tell.

But it looks like the ambiguity is about to end. In partnership with PST Sensor, Thinfilm, which produces printed re-writable memory, will begin making the first fully printed temperature sensor systems to monitor perishable items like food and pharmaceuticals.

“It’s a smart object that’s entirely self-contained,” Jennifer Ernst, Thinfilm’s North American VP told Wired.

That may sound familiar. It’s a key element of a concept called “The Internet of Things,” which basically refers to an imagined future where nearly every object will include embedded chips that can store data and interact with networks.

Thinfilm’s first-gen sensors will be able to cache data about the object itself, on the item itself. In this case, the sensors will record data concerning the object’s temperature history, tracking precise time, temperature and exposure information, and also displaying it in a low-power readout. The data within can be accessed as needed, insomuch it doesn’t need to be retrieved from the cloud, or require a constant wireless connection.

In the past, we’ve seen thin food sensors that change color as food begins to spoil. But this type of technology doesn’t retain data, and thus doesn’t provide information about the history of a product as it shipped.

More info here.

Printable transistors usher in 'internet of things'

Thinfilm, a Norwegian developer of printable memory, has co-announced with California’s PARC a development that takes a big step towards the day when every manufactured object will report in to the internet.

Yes, the “internet of things” – the buzzword of the decade.

Thinfilm and PARC‘s breakthrough is a technology that can print not only memory onto, well, thin films, but can now also print transistors to address and manage that memory.

Since 2006, Thinfilm has been producing low-capacity read/write printable memory, which has been used in such applications as personalized toys and games.

How low is “low-capacity”? Twenty bits – but although that may sound meager, know that Thinfilm’s current products aren’t intended to store an HD video of Laurence of Arabia, but instead, to hold identification and personalization information.

And to do so cheaply. Very cheaply. A few cents per unit cheaply.

Up until Friday’s announcement, Thinfilm’s non-volatile, ferroelectric memory was completely passive – it just sat there, holding those 20 bits in its memory cells. To be rewritten or read, it needed to be accessed by an external device which used one access pad for each memory cell.

What Thinfilm and PARC have now developed is the ability to print not only the memory cells, but to also print the logic onto the same substrate needed to manage those memory cells.

“This is the first time that you’re combining organic, semiconductor-based transistors in an equivalent style to CMOS in silicon,” Thinfilm CEO Davor Sutija told The Reg.

“It’s not metal-oxide, so you can’t really call it CMOS,” he said. “It has n-type and p-type semiconductors in the design, and we’re using that logic to address and decode the printed memory.”

More info here.