Drawing ‘Boards’

Now’s as good a time as ever to be in school, it seems.

At the University of Illinois, scientists have created a roller ball pen that can be used to draw functioning circuit boards. The silver-inked pen can write on paper, wood and other substrates, and “allows one to construct electronic devices ‘on-the-fly,’ ” said the lead researcher, Dr. Jennifer Lewis. “This is an important step toward enabling desktop manufacturing (or personal fabrication) using very low cost, ubiquitous printing tools.”

Also, because robots apparently need to be more sensitive, Technical University Munich researchers have produced small hexagonal plates composed of circuit boards that, when joined together, form a responsive robot skin. Cool stuff. Just don’t tell the movie producers who brought you “The Terminator.”


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About Mike

Mike Buetow is president of the Printed Circuit Engineering Association (pcea.net). He previously was editor-in-chief of Circuits Assembly magazine, the leading publication for electronics manufacturing, and PCD&F, the leading publication for printed circuit design and fabrication. He spent 21 years as vice president and editorial director of UP Media Group, for which he oversaw all editorial and production aspects. He has more than 30 years' experience in the electronics industry, including six years at IPC, an electronics trade association, at which he was a technical projects manager and communications director. He has also held editorial positions at SMT Magazine, community newspapers and in book publishing. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois. Follow Mike on Twitter: @mikebuetow