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Plastic Circuits Designed To Enable Tough, Green Computers

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the I-believe-the-plastics-are-the-future dept.

Earth 67

DanS writes "Computerworld has an article about two Australian engineers who have invented 'Circuits in Plastic' technology. CIP designs aim to be more environmentally friendly than traditional circuits as they can be made from recycled plastic, don't contain any hazardous substances, and since packaging is part of the base circuit board, there is no need for additional packaging material. As an added bonus, different 3D shaped circuits can be made using CIP, which are also waterproof. No more ruining cell phones by getting them wet! The hope is that the technology will reduce the amount of toxic electronic waste in landfills, as even with lead-free technology, etching of existing printed circuit boards (and disposal of the chemicals) is a significant issue during manufacturing."

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When can I start placing orders? (5, Interesting)

Majik Sheff (930627) | more than 5 years ago | (#28665657)

I'd love to start using this tech in my prototypes. The big question of course is how this stuff compares to an equivalently functional traditional PCB in price.

Another question that comes to mind has to do with the well established design principles used in RF level circuits. Parasitic capacitance calculations and all of the nastiness that goes along with it will become even more like black magic now that it has crossed into the third dimension.

SLOW FUCKING JAVASCRIPT (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28665821)

Fucking shit, the Javascript on this fucking site is too fucking slow. Seriously. It's fucking horrible. Tons of pauses for no apparent reason for simple fucking basic tasks like showing a text box, sitting there and mocking you. They're laughing at you because you think it's bullshit but you stick around for it. End this madness! AHH MAKE THE DELAYS STOP!!

Re:SLOW FUCKING JAVASCRIPT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28667207)

I'm not seeing any of that. Perhaps your hardware, OS, or connection are flawed.
Running XP on an old Presario s6000cl (Athlon XP 2800+)

Re:SLOW FUCKING JAVASCRIPT (1)

DaVince21 (1342819) | more than 5 years ago | (#28683177)

How about not having 10000 replies loaded at the same time?

BTW, with a browser that doesn't suck and incorporates a MODERN JavaScript implementation, it's about as fast as any other page. And this on an Eee PC.

Re:When can I start placing orders? (4, Informative)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 5 years ago | (#28665839)

These guys were on a TV show called "The New Inventors" on ABC here in Australia. The functionality becomes limited at about 5 layers, at least that's what they said. The main concern is the size of the board, then again, you can use the board as the chassis without a worry with this tech.

It was interesting, but I don't see it in it's current form moving us ahead leaps and bounds. It's years from becoming usable I'd suspect.

Re:When can I start placing orders? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28667459)

"It was interesting, but I don't see it in it's current form moving us ahead leaps and bounds."

And I don't see why you put an apostrophe in the possessive pronoun ITS.

Re:When can I start placing orders? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28672523)

Exactly. it's == it is. The apostrophe stands in for missing letters. (as part of a contraction, for example)

If it helps any, "its" belongs in this list: his, hers, its. None of them use an apostrophe

Re:When can I start placing orders? (1)

mrderm (685352) | more than 5 years ago | (#28665941)

Prototypes? Only if you expect to get everything right first time. Rework would be impossible with the conductors and components inaccessible.

Re:When can I start placing orders? (1)

Majik Sheff (930627) | more than 5 years ago | (#28670139)

You mean your prototypes don't work on the first try every time?

Re:When can I start placing orders? (2, Insightful)

home-electro.com (1284676) | more than 5 years ago | (#28666065)

Don't even start with RF. This could only work for simple low performance digital circuits. Screen printed conductors are too crappy for high-speed designs.

Of course authors forgot to mention that pretty much any circuit can be made waterproof by conformal coating or dipping into epoxy.

Re:When can I start placing orders? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28666229)

I wonder if the inventors are black, or muslim (or both)?

Of course not. So what's YOUR country going to be like in twenty years' time, when 50% of your population are non-white? Better, or worse?

It's cheaper (2, Insightful)

SofaMan (454881) | more than 5 years ago | (#28666871)

I saw this. The designers claim it works out about 10% cheaper than conventional PCBs.

switching is going to be a real bitch (4, Insightful)

jacquesm (154384) | more than 5 years ago | (#28665679)

If this process is going to be mainstream they'll have to get some kind of cost benefit attached, otherwise the only way there is going to be a switch is through legislation.

Re:switching is going to be a real bitch (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28665755)

http://www.griffith.edu.au/engineering-information-technology/centre-wireless-monitoring-applications/research/circuits-in-plastic/cost-comparisons

 

Production costs â" Environmental Sensor $ per board 1000 units 10000 units
Standard PCB $10.12 $9.27
Lead-Free PCB $10.74 $9.90
Circuits in Plastic $9.82* $7.39*
Production costs â" Strain gauge circuit. $ per board 1000 units 10000 units
Standard PCB $18.00 $$13.00
Lead-Free PCB $19.10 $13.88
Circuits in Plastic $13.74* $9.18*

Seems to be cheaper, but seeing as this is the site belonging to the makers I'll give it a good amount of doubt for now.

Further, I'm not entirely sure how long these circuits can last? And also how they handle in high temperatures.

I was confused exactly how this would conduct but apparently it's more or less the same as normal PCBs.

All in all, interesting new tech that's a big step in the right direction.

Re:switching is going to be a real bitch (1)

catmistake (814204) | more than 5 years ago | (#28668565)

And also how they handle in high temperatures.

That was my first thought. But maybe a closed loop liquid cooling solution might work, circulating a fluid into a hollow plastic heat sink.

Re:switching is going to be a real bitch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28670075)

It would be nice to know how they handle temperature extremes at both ends of the scale. If these were resistant to radiation, and could be used in a satellite environment, then it might eliminate the 'tin whiskers' problem.

Re:switching is going to be a real bitch (1)

jacquesm (154384) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688051)

Those figures were vapourware, they never actually produced any of that, they also chose circuits that have an advantage when made in plastic because they do not need to be sealed afterwards.

in my experience, producing fairly large quantities of pcbs is so cheap that it is going to take a very well thought out assembly process to compete with that.

And then there is the fact that a circuit made using this tech is essentially unreparable.

Maybe not (4, Insightful)

P0ltergeist333 (1473899) | more than 5 years ago | (#28665779)

One of the major reasons many businesses outsourced their electronics production was because of environmental and workplace safety issues due to the heavy metals and solvents used and left over. If widely adopted, this sort of thing could jump start a mini industrial revolution. I would think that re-usable components would reduce the cost of replacement parts on all electronic devices, especially with widespread adoption. Do you have any idea how many perfectly good resistors and capacitors lie in landfills? And the amount of chemical waste to produce those wasted components... Big business would have to be pretty ignorant to pass this one up if it works half as well as it appeared to on the video. Also, as someone who has worked in most aspects of electronics manufacture (PCB fab, IC fab, IC packaging, and SMD / through hole assembly and test from r&d to mass production scales), I could see this process being more efficient and less costly than current SMD and PCB manufacturing. Hard to say for sure without finding out more, but this looks hopeful!

Re:Maybe not (1)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 5 years ago | (#28670441)

Do you have any idea how many perfectly good resistors and capacitors lie in landfills?

A friend of mine and I used to save all sorts of electrical and electronic parts, rather like pack rats. We'd desolder boards to remove individual components to save. With a shelf full of small boxes the components could be separated to make it easier to find one of a specific value, from caps to resisters to chips. Need a 7400LS? They're in that box over there.

Falcon

Re:switching is going to be a real bitch (2, Insightful)

dbIII (701233) | more than 5 years ago | (#28665785)

That really depends upon what the additional cost is once there is an economy of scale. If it is not much more just putting a sticker on the front that says "green" may be enough. Also if that $65 iPod now costs $8 instead of 80c to make but has the advantage of being splashproof there is still plenty of opportunity to sell a lot of them and make a profit.
Personally I hate the idea of using the blunt instrument of legislation - I think it's likely that such technology with find a niche without a requirement of special government protection. Government protection can lead to such lame ducks as the US Sugar industry (undercut by corn syrup that actually costs more than sugar anywhere else), the US Steel industry (protected so no reason to be competative, then manufacturing jobs moved to where steel was cheaper and of higher quality), or the US vehicle industry (lower quality than Brazil at higher prices, which is bizzare since the same companies are producing excellent vehicles elsewhere).

Re:switching is going to be a real bitch (2, Interesting)

rohan972 (880586) | more than 5 years ago | (#28665927)

If this process is going to be mainstream they'll have to get some kind of cost benefit attached, otherwise the only way there is going to be a switch is through legislation.

How about (from the summary):
No more ruining cell phones by getting them wet!
That's worth big dollars, particularly to people such as myself who do most of our work outdoors. I'd love to have feature parity on a truly waterproof smartphone, and am quite willing to pay.

Re:switching is going to be a real bitch (1)

jacquesm (154384) | more than 5 years ago | (#28688037)

yes, because regular electronics can't be sealed...

Re:switching is going to be a real bitch (1)

rohan972 (880586) | more than 5 years ago | (#28697731)

yes, because regular electronics can't be sealed...

My current phone has a slide screen, difficult for me to seal. Good water resistant phones I've seen don't have the feature set I want. I don't want to have to modify my phone hardware to be suitable for my business, I want to buy it as suitable.

Recycling Circuits (2, Insightful)

PoolOfThought (1492445) | more than 5 years ago | (#28665687)

According to the article the circuits can be made from recycled plastic and then when they are ready to be retired the components of the circuits themselves can be recycled into new circuits. Seems like it really is a bit of a step up in several ways.

Of course now our electronics will have to be added to the list of things we can't just throw away when they quit working. I mean... there's plastic IN there.

Re:Recycling Circuits (4, Insightful)

anarchyboy (720565) | more than 5 years ago | (#28665995)

Allready you shouldn't just be throwing away your electronic devices when they stop working.

Re:Recycling Circuits (1)

Dantu (840928) | more than 5 years ago | (#28671917)

Allready you shouldn't just be throwing away your electronic devices when they stop working.

Have you ever tried to recycle your electrics?

I know I'm supposed to do something with them, but honestly, they expect me to drive to one location in the city, during business hours, and pay just to get rid of an old cell phone? Even for a computer, I'd feel guilty, but it'll go in the dumpster. I did take batteries back to one of the local stores that is part of a group that claims they take batteries back to recycle:
Me: Can you take these batteries for recycling, like your website says
Help Desk Guy: Ummmmm... (looks around).. I suppose I could throw them out for you..

When I can recycle my electrics as easily as I can recycle my tin cans, I will. Until then the land-fills are going to keep getting more toxic crap.

Re:Recycling Circuits (1)

anarchyboy (720565) | more than 5 years ago | (#28677197)

I never said it was easy just that you shouldn't, you are dead right it is too hard at the moment. In EU legislation was passed to encourage the proper disposal of electronics. I believe the legislation requires the companys that sell the goods to also accept goods for recycling but I'm not entirely sure. The problem is as you've pointed out that there is at the moment no simple method of recycling electronic goods. The solution should really be to make recycling of electronics much easier, having more places to take them for a start.

Do you really have to pay to have your phone recycled that really is crime.

Re:Recycling Circuits (1)

home-electro.com (1284676) | more than 5 years ago | (#28666141)

Recycling electronics components sounds like a good idea, but is unpractical. Components could could be recycled as a material source, that's all. Nobody will reuse the components in a new circuit.

And recycling them as a material is not much different from the current technology, where actually recycling them is MUCH more difficult than taking them out of the circuit.

Re:Recycling Circuits (1)

CrashNBrn (1143981) | more than 5 years ago | (#28671799)

Even the things that are claimed to be recycled by Major Corporations frequently aren't. There are far too many landfills in third world countries. Paying the local govt or community a small stipend versus the comparative exorbitant recycling cost.

We already know how this ends (2, Funny)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#28665691)

In the near future, we design artificial intelligence and put it to work for us. In fifty years, biodegradable robots packaged in ecofriendly human hide take over. This'll just make it easier for them to recycle their dead while we work in their salt mines.

Re:We already know how this ends (2, Funny)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 5 years ago | (#28665753)

In the near future, we design artificial intelligence and put it to work for us. In fifty years, biodegradable robots packaged in ecofriendly human hide take over. This'll just make it easier for them to recycle their dead while we work in their plastic mines.

Fixed that for you.

Re:We already know how this ends (1)

Anarchduke (1551707) | more than 5 years ago | (#28665989)

Well, I don't see anyone mining plastic, but the robots surely could recycle us to synthesize plastic.

Re:We already know how this ends (1)

BluBrick (1924) | more than 5 years ago | (#28666559)

Well, I don't see anyone mining plastic, but the robots surely could recycle us to synthesize plastic.

Perhaps we don't mine plastic, but we do mine "plastic ore [wikipedia.org] ".

Re:We already know how this ends (1)

DeadDecoy (877617) | more than 5 years ago | (#28668447)

With all the plastic that gets buried in landfills, there most certainly will be underground repositories of plastic for us to mine.

Re:We already know how this ends (1)

Jesus_666 (702802) | more than 5 years ago | (#28666137)

In the near future, we design artificial intelligence and put it to work for us. In fifty years, biodegradable robots packaged in ecofriendly human hide take over. This'll just make it easier for them to recycle their dead while we work as horribly impractical and physically unfeasible living batteries.

Saw a documentation about that one.

Re:We already know how this ends (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#28666665)

If you were an AI running Earth through numerous mobile terminals, would you even want humans around? They tend to make parts corrode when they get wrapped around your axles.

24 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28665695)

Now they can finally build the CIP firewall!

Waterproof, i wonder... (2, Interesting)

Mashiara (5631) | more than 5 years ago | (#28665703)

How will they achieve this without encasing all the components in the plastic, even if the board conductors were all encased (it's not like the anti-solder screen [green stuff on the board] could not be made waterproof and I think it already is) at least some of the components simply cannot be (due to heat dissipation problems). I have made completely waterproof circuit boards (simple PWM stuff, they don't generate enough heat for it to be an issue), the only connectors are rated for underwater and the board encased with epoxy, not really repairable though...
 

So anyways, since some of the components must be exposed they will have exposed connectors ergo water getting in will short-circuit it.
 

I don't know if it would work to use only such active components that have connector-bar on the underside and then just encase it up to the sides but this would add significant cost (connectors themselves, size of components -> board size...) and repair would still be out of the question.

Re:Waterproof, i wonder... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28665901)

http://www.griffith.edu.au/engineering-information-technology/centre-wireless-monitoring-applications/research/circuits-in-plastic/circuits-in-plastic-technology

Water proof â" Electronics circuits made using CiP technology are water proof, thereby resulting in significant cost savings. Traditionally water proof enclosures cost twice the total product cost.

So I'd assume the waterproofing is on a level equivalent to current waterproofing without having to make extra enclosures seeing as it's built in.

Heat dissipation is in fact a good question and, reading through their website, I've found little to nothing addressing it. Obviously they wouldn't release all the info about their invention this early in the game, but one would hope they've thought this stuff through.

"No more ruining cell phones by getting them wet!" (4, Insightful)

the_raptor (652941) | more than 5 years ago | (#28665707)

So the battery is encased in plastic as well and thus can't be recharged by an external connection?

There are also no other external connectors like headphone jacks or USB ports?

There are plenty of technologies to waterproof electronics, they are just limited by the above inconveniences. The reason that the traditional circuit manufacturing technique is so environmentally unfriendly is because it is incredibly cheap. There are all sorts of ways it could be made more environmentally sound (like not shipping "recycled" electronics to Africa/China to be broken up by children), but it is not going to happen without significant market or government intervention.

And plastics aren't that great environmentally to begin with, even if they contain significant amounts of recycled material.

Re:"No more ruining cell phones by getting them we (2, Insightful)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 5 years ago | (#28665723)

Wireless power, wireless headphones, wireless computer sync. Cell phones tend to lead the way in these wireless matters anyway, they have every reason to say these will all be plausible before this becomes mainstream.

Re:"No more ruining cell phones by getting them we (2, Informative)

Mashiara (5631) | more than 5 years ago | (#28665761)

See my point above about heat dissipation, encasing everything in plastic that is very poor conductor of heat is not an option.

Re:"No more ruining cell phones by getting them we (2, Informative)

blindseer (891256) | more than 5 years ago | (#28665999)

I had to go check and, yep, my current cell phone is completely encased in plastic. It would seem that thermal issues are not the problem you make them out to be. Is there some indication that these new plastics would somehow be less thermally conductive?

Re:"No more ruining cell phones by getting them we (1)

Mashiara (5631) | more than 5 years ago | (#28668797)

Maybe I used the wrong word, not my native language...

The cell phone likely has some places where air can get in and out, earpiece and mic at the very least. I meant that the whole circuit and all the ICs would be completely inside the plastic (though I had totally forgotten about them fancy comformal coatings), same idea as dipping the whole thing in expoxy.

It does become a problem if the heat can't get away, at the very least component lifetime would significantly shortened (though who cares whether the thingamagick dies in 10 vs 3 years if expected usable lifetime is 3 years anyways because the field moves so fast).

Re:"No more ruining cell phones by getting them we (2, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#28666455)

More to the point, what current cellphones are damaged by getting them a bit wet? Quite a few people I know have dropped their phones into puddle, down drains, and (in one case) into the toilet and had them work. One person I know dropped his phone in the sea. He needed to wash it off with fresh water to make sure there was no salt corroding the circuits and then leave it to dry before turning it back on, but that was all.

Re:"No more ruining cell phones by getting them we (1)

MilesAttacca (1016569) | more than 5 years ago | (#28684237)

I was helping to manage wireless mics for a local musical production. A member of the ensemble dropped $800 of pack and mic into the toilet. We took the battery out, left it to sit, and on the second day I tested it, it lit right up again. We didn't even drop it in a bag of rice, but that probably would have sped up the evaporation process.

plastics aren't that great environmentally to (1)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 5 years ago | (#28670647)

begin with

That all depends on what type of plastic it is and how it is made. Perhaps you didn't know that before Du Pont received a patent on making nylon [wikipedia.org] from synthetic polymers plastic was made from plants. The old Cellophane [wikipedia.org] plastic wrap was made from plant cellulose [wikipedia.org] . Kodak used to make film [dvxuser.com] from cellulose. Today bioplastics [wikipedia.org] are making a comeback. Despite the recession, their market [icis.com] is expanding.

Falcon

What about heat extraction? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28665775)

If everything is enclosed in plastic how does the heat get out exactly?

Re:What about heat extraction? (2, Interesting)

dbIII (701233) | more than 5 years ago | (#28665835)

If everything is enclosed in plastic how does the heat get out exactly?

Slowly. It really depends upon how well these materials conduct heat if you don't have the luxury of putting a great big lump of copper on everything that gets hot. Conduction has a nice simple linear relationship so it's not going to be hard for designers to work out and it will certainly limit things.
A nice parallel example is the all ceramic engine craze of the early 1990s. In the end the extra weight required to run extra cooling was one of the things that killed the concept, but now ceramic parts are used in various bits. We may see polymer electronics in some places with copper heatsinks stuck to them where it makes sense. The phone example is probably a good one since they get stuck in places where they are well insulated any so you would want a design that produces very little heat anyway - polymers may be a good choice. There can't be very many phones left that will be destroyed by turning them on and wrapping them in a blanket

Re:What about heat extraction? (1)

Anenome (1250374) | more than 5 years ago | (#28665907)

How about an alcohol bladder/membrane surrounding hot parts and cool parts providing a heat exchange. Alcohol is an incredible heat conductor, cheap, and plays nicely with plastic. Even plastic won't melt if there's a liquid medium in contact.

Here's an example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WuMl2Stgq8o&feature=related [youtube.com]

Won't it blend? (1)

hoarier (1545701) | more than 5 years ago | (#28665787)

The article tells us: “At the end of the circuit's life the components are mechanically disassembled and recycled which means a lower carbon footprint compared with the shredding and incineration of traditional circuits.”

There's a link from that, too, but I don't see any specifics on this mechanical disassembly process. Just another task to be performed by the underpaid Chinese underclass, or would we actually be encouraged to pull our own elderly computers to bits?

Re:Won't it blend? (1)

rohan972 (880586) | more than 5 years ago | (#28665969)

There's a link from that, too, but I don't see any specifics on this mechanical disassembly process.

I presume you mean this link:
http://www.computerworld.com.au/article/267964/aussie_computer_recycling_plant_saves_20_000_tonnes_e-waste [computerworld.com.au]
"The Sims recycling plant, opened Wednesday in Sydney, will reduce monitors and circuit boards into basic components such aluminium, copper, silver and gold to be shipped to overseas sites for further processing."

"The plant uses eddy current systems and magnets to separate components including gold, silver and copper once primary compacting machines have reduced computers to about the size of a thumb."


How specific do you expect from a media article?

saw this on tv the other day (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28665833)

http://www.abc.net.au/tv/newinventors/txt/s2616421.htm

The inventors were on Australian television (4, Informative)

Biogenesis (670772) | more than 5 years ago | (#28665861)

If anybody is interested the two inventors of this technology where recently on the ABC's show "New Inventors". The episode they were in is here [abc.net.au] (mp4 format). Or you can probably find the clip which has only their invention here [abc.net.au] .

a few downsides (4, Interesting)

Eil (82413) | more than 5 years ago | (#28665963)

Embedding electronic components and circuit pathways into hunks of plastic sounds like a fairly obvious evolutionary step up from the printed circuit board. If they can make the manufacturing process is cheap enough, I can't see why it wouldn't be the standard for consumer electronics in the foreseeable future.

Some downsides to consider:

Prototyping will be more difficult. If you discover a fatal bug in a non-trivial circuit, it can't be jumpered or otherwise worked around easily.

Calling it a "green" technology is insidious. Sure the manufacturing processes may involve fewer chemicals, but the resulting hunks of plastic are going to be much more difficult to recycle than components laid out on a PCB. The electronics industry is already a throw-away-when-obsolete economy, this will only help expand the concept further.

Hackers are going to have a much more difficult time modifying and repurposing their gear. You can't just solder and desolder the components and rewire things to make them do what you want. I guess many manufacturers will consider this a security feature (e.g., no more modchips on video game consoles). Reverse engineering hardware will also be more tricky. Where you might have needed a screwdriver before, you'll now need a drill.

Upsides to consider:

Building your own computer will basically be like playing with big Legos with drives, memory, and GPUs inside them.

Re:a few downsides (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28666333)

Don't forget that it would be posible to 3D print such electronics with devices like the Reprap: http://reprap.org

Re:a few downsides (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 5 years ago | (#28667283)

[quote]Prototyping will be more difficult. If you discover a fatal bug in a non-trivial circuit, it can't be jumpered or otherwise worked around easily.[/quote]

Why not just prototype on PCB, then?

[quote]Calling it a "green" technology is insidious.[/quote]

Agreed and seconded! most "green" technology is just that: insidious. It's not green at all (and often, arguably not as 'green' as what it's replacing). Cases in point: E85/ethanol, biodiesel, lithium-powered cars, solar and lead-acid battery "green" power, and so on. All lies, on account of all the components involved taking a huge resource investment, and being very hard on the environment.

Re:a few downsides (1)

Eil (82413) | more than 5 years ago | (#28668815)

Why not just prototype on PCB, then?

I mean a prototype of the final product. If you have good engineers, the circuit itself is not often terribly hard to get right. In fact, most complex schematics can be fully simulated and tested on a computer before a single resistor is purchased. But in many cases the final product requires lots of testing to make sure all the "bugs" are worked out. A PCB design makes this relatively straightforward. You can see and test everything on it very quickly. Not the case with a plastic-encased circuit.

Re:a few downsides (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28668665)

"...the resulting hunks of plastic are going to be much more difficult to recycle than components laid out on a PCB..."

Direct from the article: "At the end of the circuit's life the components are mechanically disassembled and recycled which means a lower carbon footprint compared with the shredding and incineration of traditional circuits."

Content-free website (2, Informative)

XNormal (8617) | more than 5 years ago | (#28666033)

The Griffith university site [griffith.edu.au] has well over a dozen pages sparsely filled and with essentially zero technical information about this. Amazing.

How do they interconnect the devices? (2, Insightful)

Hank the Lion (47086) | more than 5 years ago | (#28666099)

I cannot find anywhere how this system interconnects the components.
They write about the issues of current technology (solder containing lead, chemicals for etching PCB boards), but don't give an insight how their technology works around these problems. Encasing your whole device in plastic is neat, but the components will still have to be interconnected.
How? I cannot find it in the article, nor on the site of Griffith University.

Re:How do they interconnect the devices? (2, Informative)

witch-doktor (1592325) | more than 5 years ago | (#28667029)

Hi, I too was bothered by the lack of detail. I found the following website http://www.techworld.com.au/article/310730/plastic_circuits_make_tougher_greener_computers [techworld.com.au] And there there is a fleeting sentence: ---------------- The circuit board is a plastic sheet in which all components are placed in divots,â Thiel said. âoeThe conductor is screen-printed into a thin cover sheet which is then thermally bonded to the circuit board. --------------- I'm guessing the contact is by pressure. So you have the tracks, and you have the components, and you press the tracks onto the components, a bit like putting an IC onto a socket.

Green buzzword-compliance... (1, Interesting)

mi (197448) | more than 5 years ago | (#28666173)

The technology, if works as described, is perfectly awesome in itself — a way to build electronics, that's cheaper, water-proof, and needs no external casing. That it is also "greener" is a nice addition, but the editor's write-up over-emphasizes it, like it is the most important aspect. It simply is not...

Maybe I'm wrong but... (1)

Decker-Mage (782424) | more than 5 years ago | (#28666391)

I don't think anyone else has bothered to put together several interesting recent developments. For power you use the cadmium-salt nanotech solar cell tech, on either side, the base is this five-layer circuitry, the display would be liquid paper, possibly, or perhaps OLED, or both, and toss in the recent Apple patents-pending for an improved touch interface. Oh, yes, perhaps you could also tap into the body's natural electrical field and heat for additional power. Add a wireless visor display, subdermal voice communications as well.Numerous kinks to work out, de-glitch, etc., but do-able, very do-able. Flexible bracelet form, natch. The flexipad is born (from the Axis of Time series by John Birmingham).

RepRap implications (1)

jnnnnn (1079877) | more than 5 years ago | (#28666433)

I wonder if the RepRap guys are excited about this. This could be very good news for them, they are already trying to have the RepRap make circuits.

Does it biodegrade? (1)

TheSlashaway (1032228) | more than 5 years ago | (#28667695)

Does the circuit board biodegrade over time? If so, it's a manufacturer's dream! We can keep selling over and over!

Reduce waste by using more plastics? wtf? (1)

bronney (638318) | more than 5 years ago | (#28672517)

The hope is that the technology will reduce the amount of toxic electronic waste in landfills
.
What in the sechs is that?? Plastic is already killing out planet and using more will help? Wow.

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