Thin Film Electronics announces printed rewritable memory

Thinfilm is a leading provider of roll-to-roll printed, rewritable non-volatile memory products. That was a mouthful so your probably wondering what exactly does that mean.  The company is headquartered in Sweden but spun out of the infamous PARC (Palo Alto Research Center) and have invented a technology that marries transistors with memory.  This means it is a low cost way to print memory like you have in your computer.  This printed memory can be read, written, and small amounts of data can be proccessed.

Below is a picture of the memory printed on a thin film.  The black dots are the memory and the copper colored traces are conductive material connecting them.  As you can see in the picture since the memory is printed on a thin film it is highly flexible.
Flexible Thin Film

Today Thinfilm announced they will be selling development kits for the technology at Inventables.  The developers’ kit provides designers with the tools they need to experiment with the printed memory stickers. Each Thinfilm Memory™ sticker costs about 5-cents apiece in volume and each sticker contains 20 bits of data, corresponding to a lookup table that can store more than a million entries.

The development kit

The OBA game below demonstrates Thinfilm’s rewriteable memories for interactive toys and games and is used to access the Thinfilm printed and rewritable memory cards. It acts as a bridge or connector between the online game and a downloadable version that can be played on the hand-held device when you are not online. Through the game levels you evolve the Oba inhabitants and mature their capabilities and powers. The goal is to save the dying Oba Solar Systems.

Printed Memory OBA Game

Thinfilm CEO Davor Sutija is interested in integrating this technology with sensors and other printed electronics. To understand how this could work he explains: "You can see if a sensor has hit a particular threshold and record the number of times in memory."

HCII at Carnegie Mellon

The Human-Computer Interaction Institute (HCII) is an interdisciplinary community of students and faculty at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). This community is dedicated to research and education in topics related to computer technology in support of human activity and society. Although the HCII is headquartered within the School of Computer Science, members of the community represent a broad spectrum of the CMU campus including the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Tepper School of Business, College of Fine Arts, Carnegie Institute of Technology, Software Engineering Institute, as well as the School of Computer Science.

 Justine Cassell is the Director of the HCII.  Her research interests originated in the study of human-human conversation and storytelling. Progressively she became interested in allowing computational systems to participate in these activities. This new technological focus led her to deconstruct the linguistic elements of conversation and storytelling in such a way as to embody machines with conversational, social and narrative intelligence so that they could interact with humans in human-like ways. Increasingly, however, her research has come to address the impact and benefits of technologies such as these on learning and communication.

Inventables is a big fan of groups like this becuase they are working to push forward the state of the art when it comes to how humans use technology. Defering judgement and thinking beyond the traditional keyboard and mouse.

Chris Harrison, a third year HCII PhD student, has developed what he calls the the OmniTouch. The project was done in collaboration with Microsoft Research and Scott Hudson, professor of HCII. Here's a quick video demo:

A bunch of students have recently started ordering products from Inventables.  We can't wait to see what other cool projects they are working on!

The very flexible iLamp

Sometimes you come across things that are just ridiculously cool.  A customer emailed in a link to this Curbly post.  The folks over at System Design Studio come up with lots of cool concepts and products and this is one of their new ones.  They call it the iLamp and it uses silicone and an EL lamp.  I wonder how the lamp holds it shape when bent.  Maybe it uses some shape retaining plastic.
The designers of the lamp are named Helbert S. Ferreira and Remi A. Melander and they live in Spain. The manufacturer is System Design Studio.  I can't wait to see one in person.