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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Index of related articles:

What is RFID?
How RFID Works
How is RFID used inside a living body?
What can RFID be used for?
Is RFID Technology Secure and Private?
Are There Concerns About How RFID Will Be Used? (Update)
Next-Generation Uses of RFID?
What Are Zombie RFID Tags?
RFID Information Technology Articles
Problems With RFID
Advantages of RFID Versus Barcodes
RFID Glossary
Contactless Credit Card Advantages
Contactless Credit Card Disadvantages

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