Flexible Arduino Sure To Be A Hit


Scrolling LED on soda can

Wearable, lightweight hacks have long been dominated by the Lilypad. This will probably change with the introduction of the Printoo. Using printable circuit technology, the Printoo takes a modular approach to enable hackers, makers, and engineers alike to construct flexible circuits that can be put on almost anything, including paper!

Powered by the all too familiar ATmega328, the Printoo core module is fully compatible with the Ardunio IDE. The modular design enables functionality with several other printed devices including displays, batteries, sensors and even LED strips to make many different projects possible. One of the most interesting modules is the 1.5 volt, 500 micron thick electrochromic display.

Be sure to check out their Kickstarter, which has a nice video that demonstrates the project. If funded, they will be available in October in case you want to get your hands on one. Or feel free to make your own. Just be sure to let us know if you do!

11 thoughts on “Flexible Arduino Sure To Be A Hit

  1. After the Inkjet printed circuit news came out, I talked to the professor behind it (happens to be one of my teachers) and he was kind enough to give me a marker pen full of it, and a few sheets of paper as a souvenir.

    It is indeed as easy as drawing or printing your own circuit, but it has a few caveats: apart from the ink being quite expensive, you need to use a specific kind of photo paper for the ink to not seep too deep and loose conductiveness. But most of all, you can’t solder so you need to use the very expensive z-axis conductive tape to connect your conponents.

    This project seems to have tried to overcome these problems with paper circuits by making a lot of prefabricated modules, but it seems to me that with all the connectors and other bulky components, you loose all the benefits of flexible circuits. Were any of the demo projects better off by being a paper circuit?

    1. Hi, I’m one of the team members behind Printoo.

      Flexibility is only one of the features of Printoo, and perhaps you’re right, it’s not the main one. Printoo makes it simpler to create new demos quickly, and it also comes with new technologies that are not available with current prototyping kits.

      One thing I would state about flexible circuits and the current trend in making these technologies more accessible (AgIc’s printed, Circuit Scribe, Conductive Inkjet Technologies among others) is that when they mature, they’ll become much cheaper and accessible ways to make circuits than rigid boards. They’ll also allow for much greater creative freedom.

      There are several options currently available for making flex circuits. It’s possible to use low-temp solder with inkjet printed copper circuits on PET. It’s also possible to place discrete components on tracks using conductive glues, but that’s a process that is not available to everyone.

      You’re right that we did compromise on flexibility by making it Printoo modular. Our main goal with Printoo is to get these technologies into people’s hands and start to build the resources necessary for innovation to happen with Printed Electronics. It’s true that you can have a much more flexible end-product if you build it from scratch, but that is precisely the point of Printoo: a prototyping tool for Printed Electronics that allows people to create first product concepts.

      You can’t place an LED matrix around a can with current available boards and I think one would need a lot more balloons to lift a rigid-boards. Having said that, we are now refining the boards by using new connectors that will make the boards smaller and less bulky.

      Thank you so much for your comment and sorry for the long reply!
      Manuel Camara

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