New Scientist reports this week on developments by a team at Berkeley working on using 3D printers to produce complete electronic devices.
“Instead of creating a casing and then laboriously filling it with electronic circuit boards, components and switches, the plan is to print a complete and fully assembled device. The trick is to print layer upon layer of conducting and semiconducting polymers in such a way that the circuitry the device requires is built up as part of the bodywork.”
When they’ve perfected the technique, the team are hoping to be able to print light bulbs, TV remote controls and maybe mobile phones. This new technology of printing a mixture of electronic and flexible materials simultaneously has been dubbed ‘flexonics’.