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EU funding has enabled Portuguese printed electronics start-up Ynvisible to fully assess the potential of applying flexible printed electronics to consumer objects. The six-month feasibility study completed at the beginning of August 2015 involved carrying out tests on the new platform – called PRINTOO – which enabled the company to better understand the needs of various end users.
‘The study enabled us to take the time and effort to better understand our clients, identify who they are and how best to address their needs,’ explains Manuel Câmara, new products manager at Ynvisible.
One key potential end user segment has been identified as education and learning. Schools have expressed interest in printed electronics as a tool to develop creativity and do-it-yourself technical skills in students at different levels.
‘Thanks to our market research, we intend to create products that fit the needs of the educational sector,’ says Câmara. ‘Schools and universities around the world yearn for new tools that allow their students to learn while creating and exploring new ideas.’
Another potential untapped market segment is health. Ynvisible recently partnered with another innovative tech company, BITalino, to develop a smart wearable device that enables users to track various measurements such as body temperature and heart rate. BITalino is revolutionising DIY health tracking by making physiological sensors capable of measuring the body’s bio-signals accessible to all.
‘We’re now considering whether PRINTOO should be spun off its original company,’ adds Câmara. ‘We know much more about our business, our market and our clients.’
Following completion of the feasibility study, Ynvisible’s next priority is to bring its range of flexible printed electronics to market. Each printable PRINTOO component contains at its core a high performance, low power microcontroller – basically a tiny computer fitted onto a single integrated circuit board – below which is a list of various modules that customers may choose from to suit their needs.
Businesses can apply these very thin electronic ‘labels’ to items – anything from balloons and clothing to 3D printed objects, making them intelligent and interactive.
This is the essence of the Internet of Things (IoT), where objects, animals and people are provided with unique identifiers and are able to transfer data over a network without requiring computer interaction. By adding internet capabilities to their products, business can enable end users to control their devices remotely via apps on their Smartphone. The unique selling point of PRINTOO is that the modular printable electronics being developed are flexible and very affordable, opening up a whole new range of potential users.
‘Since all board designs are open-source, you can change them up and customise them to your needs, just like other modular building kits with the addition of having printable, completely flexible components at your disposal,’ says Câmara. ‘We intend to push the boundaries of innovation by bringing to market new flexible printed technologies that have not previously been available.’
For further information please visit: http://www.printoo.pt/