Minister of State, Science and Technology Greg Rickford, along with the National Research Council of Canada and industry partners, discussed a new program and industrial consortium that will focus on consumer technology such as electronic intelligence capabilities to printed materials. This will be made possible by creating new functional inks, printing and imprinting processes, and electronic circuits. Everyday uses of this printable electronics/RFID wireless tags technology by Canadians include applications such as drug packaging that tracks dosage history and food labeling that tells you when your food has spoiled.
“This new program and consortium will position Canada as a global leader in printable electronics,” said the Minister Greg Rickford. “Our government is working closely with partners across a variety of sectors, including academia and industry, to support the development of amazingly thin, flexible, and inexpensive electronic solutions, benefiting Canadians in countless ways by improving our quality of life and leading to the growth of our economy.”
The Printable Electronics program, a whopping $40 million NRC investment spanning over 5 years, will develop cutting-edge technologies and light-weight electronic devices for a smarter world. For example, Canadians will benefit from innovations such as smart labels reducing shipping costs, smart drug packaging improving health care delivery, new anti-counterfeiting measures increasing currency bill security, and printed RFID antennas.
“Printable electronics technology allows everyday objects to interact with customers in ways that were unimaginable five years ago,” said Dan Wayner, Vice-President of the Emerging Technologies division at the National Research Council of Canada. “It will lead to a revolution in the manufacturing of high-volume, interactive consumer products and security documents. At every level, printable electronics will revolutionize the world we live in.”
The consortium, a $16 million contribution spanning over 5 years, is pooling resources from Canadian companies and research centers to provide strategic research and development, technical services, and test design and manufacturing techniques. It will also help industrial clients solve the technical gaps and commercial challenges to developing new products, and will provide a robust technology platform from which other innovations can be pursued.
Current printable electronic examples are buttons on microwaves and defrosters in rear car windows. Future products that will be developed include Smart labels that lower shipping costs through wireless supply chain management, Anti-counterfeiting measures that will increase bank note security, Self-powered solar blinds, Printed Near Field Communications or Radio Frequency Identification antennas, and Smart drug packaging that will prompt you to take your daily pill.
The Printable Electronics consortium is a joint effort integrating the best in public and private research and development expertise in the printable electronic industry. Canadian industrial/technology players involved include RFID Canada, Krupack Packaging, Xerox Research Centre of Canada, GGI International, Jones Packaging Inc., Communication Research Centre Canada, SITT, MW Canada Ltd. and Canadian Bank Note Company Ltd.