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October 27, 2009 AT 12:30 pm

Xerox develops silver ink for wearable or throwaway electronics

Xerox
Xerox develops silver ink for wearable or throwaway electronics…

Xerox researchers have invented a kind of ink that can conduct electricity and be used to put electronic circuits on top of plastics, film, and textiles. That means in the coming years we’ll be able to wear or bend our electronics. You could even print out your electronic gadget on plastic sheets, as if you were printing a document. Silicon chips have long been too expensive or heavy to use in devices that are extremely lightweight. The Xerox team solved this fundamental problem with lighter materials, and it plans to sell the new materials to other businesses that could make wearable electronics.

We have a Xerox solid ink printer, we’d love to be able to drop in a block of silver and print up some hardware :)

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9 Comments

  1. Any idea of the environmental impact of these seemingly ‘disposable’ silver products?

  2. Wondering how viable it would be to solder on a surface you can print with… plastic might not survive the process.

  3. Now, how do we print the P and N junctions?

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/290/5499/2123

  4. Oooohhhh, this could be interesting. But yes, soldering might be difficult.

  5. With conductive ink maybe we can also have conductive glue and sidestep soldering altogether.

  6. Where there’s ink there’s – tattoos!

    Won’t be long before someone crafts a circuit board in their own skin – Maker gets made.

    The future is cool.

  7. Soldering tattoos

  8. Actually Dupont already has something like this, screen-print your own EL circuits! I am guessing this is the process behind the ThinkGeek electronic shirts.

    http://www2.dupont.com/MCM/en_US/tech_info/el_faqs.html

    http://www2.dupont.com/MCM/en_US/assets/downloads/prodinfo/EL_Processing_Guide.pdf

    Someone in our local Make group posted info on this fabric which has metal threads in a grid pattern like breadboards. Apparently you can actually solder to it!

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/plugandwear/4026570265/in/set-72157622578992906/

    “this is a knitted fabric that is being developed to solve the lack of 100% soft textile breadboards. It is a striped fabric with a 2.54 mm pitch (the same one you find on standard breadboards) so you can attach components, even IC’s, with little effort. Non conductive stripes are alternated to conductive stripes, made of metal wire. There are currently two ways for attaching components, one is sewing components legs to the fabric and the other one is soldering them. Both materials are in fact chosen so that they resist the temperature of a soldering iron. This fabric has some streatchability, non so much due to the presence of metal fibers. We know very little about washability, but we have good chances that one of the two systems will pass the washability test. In the next couple of weeks we will put it on our shop plugandwear.com, along with explainations of the two techniques for the attaching components.”

    Source: http://fashioningtechnology.ning.com/forum/topics/new-prototype-of-soft

  9. Forget solder. There are high-conductivity epoxies. ( one example: http://store.sra-solder.com/product.php/6027/8 but I’m sure you can find others.) You can also get conductive ink now. Print with conductive ink, attach surface-mount parts with epoxy.

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