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Printed Electronics World
Posted on December 15, 2004 by  & 

Origami Electronics - doing something new

You are reading the paper over breakfast as usual. Suddenly you become aware that your daughter opposite is unusually quiet then flap flap flap, there's an electronic pigeon flying in circles around your head. She has followed the instructions on her Coco Pops and refolded the packet into an electrical pigeon. Lucky she didn't have the jumbo packet. That pigeon takes photographs of your bald head from above. Welcome to the world of origami electronics.
Origami electronics is a concept from the Swedish consortium ACREO. Packages that refold into something clever are environmental as well as fun because nothing is thrown away. In the healthcare sector there will be versions that are not frivolous. The reconfigured package may become an electronic prompt for all your pill taking and be the form of a wristband, badge or whatever you prefer. In domestic products, the pack that has contained insect repellent may reconfigure as a hanging ultrasound repellant to help the process along. There is great scope for imagination here and printed electronics is essential for it all to be possible. "The package is part of the product" will take on a new meaning. In some cases the package will even be the product and the commodity it contains will only be only a minor part of the consumer proposition.
Eventually, perhaps packaging will have electronic capabilities that are reconfigurable at will. No mimicking the cut out doll on today's package. More a matter of buying the book on "Electronic Origami" and figuring out the wealth of amusing and useful possibilities - even use your own imagination. Make it an art form? Now there's a thought .........
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