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Printed Electronics

Recently I presented at the IMPACT8 conference and saw some excellent papers being presented. One of the highlights was Erik Brunvand's presentation on creating printed circuit boards. It reminded me of the work that Dundee Product Design PhD student, Michael Shorter is doing on conductive ink. Both investigate ways in which prints can be augmented with electronics, though whilst Brunvand's work seems to concentrate on the geeky electronics side of things, and the aesthetics still need alot of work, Shorter's work is great on concept and aesthetics but I'm not sure how much of it is actually fully working and how  much of it is still proof of concept. 

I love the idea of conductive ink and the scope of functionality that could arise from a "pretty picture". Still it all seems to be, technically in very early phases and due to the needs of an electronic circuit board, the aesthetic tends to be screenprinted with very little tonal range. What I'd love to do is take this and have the electronic circuitry, and functionality, but also work with imagery that suports wider tonal ranges and different types of print processes. I guess in the short-term one could print the components using screenprinting, then add different types of processes on top to get the desired tonal ranges.

Still the field is in it's early days, so it will be exciting to see how things develop. 

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