The day when you will be able to interact with your phones, tablets, and computers using a mere piece of paper or cardboard is not far. The concept of smart paper and smart packaging has been around for a while, but nobody knew whether it would become a reality considering the cost that comes with IoT.
However, engineers at Purdue University have come up with a printing process using which a paper or cardboard can be coated with highly fluorinated molecules making it dust, oil, and water-repellent. Hence, the paper or cardboard, after the coating, can be used for printing multiple circuit layers onto it without smudging the ink. These areas then become triboelectric that are capable of self-powered Bluetooth wireless communication.
Here’s a video where the team demonstrates how the tech works.
The paper in the above video has been treated with the coating mentioned above and the person is using it to type on a laptop with a disabled keyboard.
The second video shows forward, back, mute, and volume bar printed on the back of a piece of paper. It is being used to control audio playback.
Ramses Martinez, an assistant professor at Purdue’s School of Industrial Engineering and one of the authors of the paper, said in a statement,
I envision this technology to facilitate user interaction with food packaging, to verify if the food is safe to be consumed, or enabling users to sign the package that arrives at home by dragging their finger over the box to properly identify themselves as the owner of the package.
This is a huge breakthrough and will undoubtedly help in revolutionizing packages and such.