Integration is one of the main advantages of printed electronics: circuits that can be embedded within materials, avoiding the need for cables. But this perk comes with a down-side. The technology is so integrated that becomes almost invisible. So today we want to bring it to the surface and present you three amazing examples of what printed electronics can do.

Smart tattoos

Can’t find the TV remote? Don’t worry. Press the pause button located on your left hand knuckle. Sounds like science fiction, but it may be closer than you think. SkinMarks are temporary tattoos, thinner than a hair, that serve as controllers. They are developed by Martin Weigel and his team at Saarland University in Germany.

SkinMarks are electronics tatoos

The same tattoo can have multiple functions, as it makes use of the skin’s flexibility! You could slide your finger across the tattoo on your other finger to control the volume. Bend that finger, and the tattoo acts as a pause button.

Does it need repairing?

Doing maintenance is not always easy. Big structures cannot always be accessed easily, and vehicles like aircrafts need periodical revisions. Revisions are costly, both in a matter of time and money, and the crew inspecting infrastructures sometimes are at risk. By integrating sensors within the material, regular revisions become easier and more precise. At the same time, they reduce both time and inspection costs, reaching spots that are not easily accessed by revision crews.
For this reason, Quest Integrated recently received the Best Product Award at IDTechEx Show for PRESS: their structural printed fuse-like sensors that allow for monitoring hotspots on structures.

Connect your vinyl to your phone

Vinyl is making a comeback in the music industry. Some say it sounds better, others value its aesthetics… Whatever your reasons may be for loving vinyl, you must admit one thing: LPs aren’t portable.

Revive vinyls use NFC technology to connect with your phone

What if you could connect your vinyl with your phone? That’s exactly what Revive —a French music label— did. They partnered with MPO, to develop the world’s first connected vinyls. The secret lies in the paper used for the packaging: PowerCoat Alive. A specialised paper developed by Arjowiggins (one of our partners), that is able to integrate NFC technology, to communicate with your smartphone.

These are only a handful of examples of the countless possibilities that printed electronics offer. Do you know of other examples? Let us know in the comments!

Featured image: istockphoto.