Feeds

Draw and fold working circuitry with the silver-ink pen

Surely the ultimate, wantable badge of the Übergeek

Business security measures using SSL

Top boffins in Illinois have invented a truly joyous piece of kit: a pen full of silver ink which can be used to draw functioning electronic circuitry on paper, wood (including – of course – breadboards) and other suitable surfaces.

"Pen-based printing allows one to construct electronic devices 'on-the-fly'," says Jennifer Lewis, one of the engineering profs who came up with the new pen at Illinois uni. "This is an important step toward enabling desktop manufacturing (or personal fabrication) using very low cost, ubiquitous printing tools."

Outwardly a normal rollerball, the pen is filled with a solution of silver which dries after drawing to leave a functioning electronic pathway. Better still, the inky circuit path is flexible, allowing the surface it is drawn on to be deformed or folded without affecting performance. A little origami added to one's drafting skills allows creation of 3D or multi-level devices.

"The key advantage of the pen is that the costly printers and printheads typically required for inkjet or other printing approaches are replaced with an inexpensive, hand-held writing tool," argues Lewis, who developed it alongside fellow Illinois prof Jennifer Bernhard and other colleagues.

The nifty circuit-pen enables "new possibilities in art, disposable electronics and folded three-dimensional devices," according to the two Jennifers, who now intend to develop other inks allowing freehand circuit artists to make use of different materials.

Full boffinry detail on the splendid pen can be read here in the journal Advanced Materials. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Oi, Tim Cook. Apple Watch. I DARE you to tell me, IN PERSON, that it's secure
State attorney demands Apple CEO bows the knee to him
4K-ing excellent TV is on its way ... in its own sweet time, natch
For decades Hollywood actually binned its 4K files. Doh!
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
DARPA-backed jetpack prototype built to make soldiers run faster
4 Minute Mile project hatched to speed up tired troops
Hey, Mac fanbois. HGST wants you drooling over its HUGE desktop RACK
What vast digital media repository could possibly need 64 TERABYTES?
Apple's Watch is basically electric perfume
It isn't just me-too Apple that's lost its lustre: Gadget mania is over
In a spin: Samsung accuses LG exec of washing machine SABOTAGE
Rival electronic giant tries to iron out allegations
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.