Home inkjet printer fabricates circuit boards on photo paper

The ink costs $500 a bottle, but only a few cents are needed to make a circuit

Printing a circuit board on your home inkjet printer and creating basic electronics is what Microsoft Research hopes will be the future for hobbyists and makers.

Printing a circuit board on your home inkjet printer and creating basic electronics is what Microsoft Research hopes will be the future for hobbyists and makers.

Using a home inkjet printer, special ink and photo paper, scientists from Microsoft Research have created what they hope will be the future for fabricating basic electronics. Presented at CHI 2014 in Toronto, the project uses "circuit stickers" which let users build electronics by sticking circuit elements onto paper.

To see the project, watch a video on YouTube.

The precursor to the new research was "instant inkjet circuits" presented last year by Microsoft Research. It used special silver nanoparticle ink in a printer cartridge. Users could design a circuit on the computer and send it to print. While the printer thinks it is printing in black and white, it's precisely applying the special, conductive ink.

"[The] little elements of circuitry can be stuck down with double-sided tape to make a working circuit," said Steve Hodges a principal engineer with Microsoft Research.

The project uses special tape from 3M that is conductive only in the z-axis, or through the tape, otherwise it would run the risk of short-circuiting the project.

Once printed, users could stick on the circuits. They include modules for batteries, accelerometers and buttons, among others.

Hodges said that the circuit kits would allow users to make basic projects, but nothing too complicated like a cell phone.

Since its just a research project now there are no immediate plans for commercialization.

Nick Barber covers general technology news in both text and video for IDG News Service. E-mail him at Nick_Barber@idg.com and follow him on Twitter at @nickjb.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags popular scienceComponentsBoards -- other

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Nick Barber

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?