ThinFilm Electronics (Oslo, Norway) has developed an integrated system-on-label device using printed components, including printed memory, a sensor and digital logic, which is designed detect temperature events exceeding defined thresholds and to record temperature data for later retrieval and display. Such labels could provide item-level tracking of quality data for pharmaceuticals and perishable foods, among other applications.
Development of the prototype sensor product was a collaborative effort. Palo Alto Research Center headed up the development of the organic logic circuitry within design rules and functional specifications provided by ThinFilm, PST Sensors provided the fully-printed thermistor, and Acreo supplied the electrochromic display. Additional circuitry, including a timer function and wireless communication, will be added to the system in future. Commercial availability is expected by the end of 2014.
According to ThinFilm CEO Davor Sutija, the potential of printed electronics rests on its ability to catalyse the technology of the Internet of Things. Making electronics ubiquitous requires not only cheap components, but also low-cost integration. If ordinary objects are able to store, process, and communicate local information, this makes them aware of their environment and turns them our agents, which can provide information when we need it.
Image: ThinFilm Electronics