I'm currently writing this on one of those cool rubber keyboards that can be rolled up and hooked up to a Sony UX micro computer. But this new spreadable electronics idea for a display that is self-powered with solar energy just blows my rubber keyboard away.
Two Japanese companies, Mitsubishi Chemicals and Sumitomo Chemical, are working on spreadable electronics, an idea that has nothing to do with margarine and everything to do with potentially making electronics that doesn't have to be plugged in.
The molecular soup mixture would have organic light-emitting diode (OLED) and solar cell building blocs that can be spread or even sprayed like paint in an ultra-thin layer that is only 100 nm thick. By combining both technologies, it may be possible to have displays on the market that don't even have to be plugged in but charged using solar panels. The companies even say it could be sprayed onto the back of cell phones to charge up the device.
There are plenty of solar panels being created through similar means, and we've also heard about OLEDs that can double as solar collectors. But combining the economics of printable or paintable electronics with the utility of lighting and solar collection in one place would be an enormous breakthrough.
It won't be available any time soon, however. The companies claim they could have a prototype ready in two years.
written by Karsten, May 22, 2008
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