Design Con 2015

Printoo: Printed electronics made Arduino compatible

Julien Happich -April 23, 2014

A spin-out from YDreams, Ynvisible was founded in 2010 with the goal to bring more interactivity to everyday objects and surfaces, mostly through the use of flexible and printed electronics including the company’s fully transparent electrochromic display.

The paper-thin display, which only becomes visible when activated can easily be integrated with different background graphics.

Currently, the company is raising funds through the crowd-funding platform KickStarter for the first production batch of its Printoo Arduino-compatible printed electronics design platform. With more than three weeks to go, Ynvisible has already collected more than its initial $20,000 pledge which would support the production of roughly 500 kits featuring between 10 to 12 modules.

Running Arduino software, the first Printoo packs include novel printed modules including LED light strips from VTT lab, 1.5V printed batteries from Blue Spark and Enfucell, 0.350mm thin organic photodetectors from ISORG, printed polymer solar cells from Mekoprint, and Ynvisible’s own transparent printed displays running from 1.5V.

Also included are modules like Bluetooth LE, DC motor control, flexible LED matrixes, and a variety of sensors. The Printoo core is powered by the Atmel ATmega328 microcontroller. A list of components can be found at www.printoo.pt.

“Flexible and printed electronics components are often only available from labs and research institutes, and by building an Arduino-compatible platform capable of connecting different flexible modules, we’re giving designers a chance to try out these novel printed electronic technologies”, explains Manuel Câmara, New Products Manager at Ynvisible.

“With Printoo, we bring printed electronics to the masses. The Arduino user base is also more accepting, and by making Printoo an open-source project, we encourage more people to experiment with these relatively new technologies while they are still maturing”, Câmara added.

“Our R&D engineers are taking printed electronics out of research and development laboratories into the mainstream” says Ynvisible’s CEO Inês Henriques in a presentation video on KickStarter. Among the various project examples shown on the promotional video, I must admit that the very basic "girlfriend communicator" made me giggle.

The company hopes to bring more modules as the platform develops, for example to include flexible memory, printed OLEDs, printed temperature sensors or image sensors. It is open to talk with all companies in the field of flexible electronics.

Modularity means connectors. There are also quite a few discrete components mounted on flexible foils too.

“In order to make Printoo modular and easy to experiment with, we’ve made the compromise to rely on 2.54mm pitch standard connectors for the different modules, so they are not as small as they could be if only using printed electronics. But of course, once they have proven a concept, designers can opt for better printed integration at manufacturing level” told us Câmara.

Since Europe is driving the research in printed electronics, the Printoo kits will most likely be manufactured in Europe, so as to stay close to the companies involved, hinted Câmara.

Printoo Kickstarter project page

Visit Printoo at www.printoo.pt.
Visit Ynvisible at www.ynvisible.com.

Find more datasheets on products at Datasheets.com, searchable by category, part #, description, manufacturer, and more.

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This article originally appeared on EE Times Europe.

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