Printing RFID Tags With Magic Ink
Looking for a flexible RFID tag? Security technology like RFID devices, barcodes and smart cards are going to be smaller, more flexible and easier to manufacture responsibly thanks to a metal printing technology developed by QinetiQ Metal Printing.
(From BBC: Magic Ink)
"The very basic principle is that you apply an ink to a surface that is water resistant, like a flexible plastic," Chris Bishop, general manager of QinetiQ Metal Printing (QMP), explained. "When you pass it through an electroless chemical solution, metal will 'grow'. It is not a special solution; it is an industry standard one."
(From BBC News)
Metal printing is 50% cheaper than conventional methods using acid and copper etching techniques; it is also much more environmentally responsible. Industry experts talk about the "5 cent" barrier; if it is possible to reliably manufacture RFID devices onto products at this price point, it becomes feasible for almost any retail product to have it's own RFID tag.
The same techniques could be used to print antennas onto the casing of a mobile phone, reducing its size. Contrarily, it would also be possible to print wallpaper that could block selected radio frequencies, like those which enable mobile phones and Wi-fi.
For science fiction enthusiasts, another example of printed circuitry is shown in the sleeve watch from the 1981 novel Dream Park by Larry Niven and Steven Barnes.
See RFID Technology Advances: Magic ink that makes metal grow (from RFIDa) and
CinetiQ shows its metal for more information.
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