Today we inaugurate a new section on our blog, to collect the best stories we share on our social media. On it you will find the best and latest news on paper-based, printed or flexible electronics, sensors, packaging and paper diagnostics. We hope you enjoy it! And if you want to share a new story with us, leave a comment below or give us a shout on Twitter or Facebook!
1. One sensor, three measures
Cellulose is an amazing material. It’s flexible, can be tailored to multiple applications by using additives, and comes from a renewable source: trees and plants. Using cellulose, professor Xavier Crispin from Linköping University has developed this sensor that measures pressure, temperature and humidity! As the Internet of Things expands, the number of sensors in our gadgets increases. The current ones are made mainly from plastic, silica and other metals that take a heavy toll on the environment. Having sensors that not only measure several things but come from green materials, will both help reduce the number of sensors we need and the impact they have.
2. The tiniest pixel may bring even more flexible displays
The pixels in our phone have gotten smaller and smaller over the years. But this newcomer makes them seem like giants. It all starts with a grain of gold, just a few nanometres wide. It is then coated with a polymer and placed onto a reflective surface. By switching the electricity applied to the material, its colour changes. The tiny size of the pixel makes them especially apt for flexible displays. Also, once a pixel is switched to a certain colour, it holds that colour until it’s instructed to turn again, reducing the amount of energy consumed by the display.
3. How fresh is this milk?
It happens to everyone. You wake up in the morning, open the fridge, and the milk smells weird. These researchers have developed a paper kit that tells you how fresh your milk is and how well it’s been pasteurised. This test will not only help you at home but the milk industry as well. Currently, they use lab equipment like spectrophotometers. Sensors like these may help reduce both times and cost.
4. Innovative green packaging
Packaging is so much more than putting things into boxes. It requires ingenuity, design and innovation. It impacts us and the environment. For this reason, Smurfit Kappa organised the first “Better Planet Packaging Design Challenge”: a contest of ideas to reduce the amount of non-recyclable waste that the packaging industry generates every day. And they got over 300 submissions! The first challenge consisted in finding an alternative for the plastic stretch wrap used around pallets to provide stability during transport and storage. The second one, a fully paper-based parcel with thermal protection for chocolates, for use in the e-commerce sales. Want to know who won? Read Smurfit Kappa blog to know!