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Whats in your printer? Probably not Batteries!

Printable electronics is a fairly new area of gadgetry; the basic principle is to be able to print out integrated circuits onto almost any sort of suitable material.

The applications for this range from RFID tags for Identification and tracking through to clothing with circuitry embedded in it. But as the ability to print the circuitry comes ever closer, what will be powering your socks in the coming years?

Blue Spark – Ultra Thin Printed Batteries

Ultra Thin Printed Battery Technology, Developed by Blue Spark Technologies

Blue Spark Technologies produce printed carbon-zinc batteries, which are small, environmentally friendly and most importantly cheap enough to produce to make them viable. These batteries are also incredibly thin; their standard battery is 750 microns thick (that’s 0.75 of a mm), while their Ultra-Thin series of batteries can go as slim as 500 microns.

The applications for a power source of this nature are boundless, at the moment they’re being used in a lot of RF applications, including one card being used by Sealed Air Corp that monitors and stores temperature data to ensure that food has been produced and stored properly.

As he says in this CNBC Interview Blue Spark Technologies CEO Gary Johnson can see applications for this such as hi tech patient bracelets with stored records, subway or bus passes that display their credit remaining and loyalty cards that track customer information painlessly.

Along with the potential for manifold uses there is the point that these batteries are fairly harmless in the environment. They contain none of the chemicals normally associated with batteries, no mercury or lithium etc. The carbon-zinc chemistry meets all the EU restrictions on hazardous substances and can be safely disposed of.

Konarka - Portable Solar Charging

Solar Notebook & Laptop Battery Charging Bag by Energy Sun-bag

Ever wanted to have your laptop bag charge your laptop while you went to work? Konarka is working on just such a thing, they produce light weight flexible “Power Plastic” that they hope will become popular as a way to charge up and power personal devices from sunlight.

They envision applications such as a shade umbrella that will power a cooler or a mat that you unroll to charge your cell phones or laptops. Already Neuber a German company is planning to make use of the technology to produce their Energy Sun-bag.

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