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[Slashdot] - Engineers Have Figured Out How To Make Interactive Paper


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An anonymous reader quotes a report from Gizmodo: Engineers at Purdue University have created a printing process by which you can coat paper or cardboard with "highly fluorinated molecules." This then makes the coated paper dust, oil, and water-repellent, meaning you can then print multiple circuit layers onto the paper without smudging the ink. According to a paper the engineers published in Nano Energy, these "triboelectric areas" are then capable of "self-powered Bluetooth wireless communication." That's science-speak to say that paper printed and coated in this way doesn't require external batteries as it generates electricity from contact with a user's finger. You can see a demonstration of how the tech works in these two videos. In the first video, Purdue engineers have a paper keypad that's been treated with the aforementioned "omniphobic" coating. The paper keypad is then doused in some neon-green solution. In the second video, you can then see a person use the paper keypad to actually type on a laptop with a disabled keyboard. In a third video, Purdue's team printed a forward, back, mute, and volume bar on the back of a piece of paper. In it, you can see someone controlling audio playback by dragging their finger along the volume bar, as well as skipping forward and back in the music queue. While the tech itself is pretty cool, another neat aspect is that because it works on paper and cardboard, it would be relatively inexpensive, flexible, and quick to make. That makes it a good candidate for things like smart packaging.

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Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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