Thinfilm, a Norwegian developer of printable memory, has co-announced with California’s PARC a development that takes a big step towards the day when every manufactured object will report in to the internet.
Yes, the “internet of things” – the buzzword of the decade.
Since 2006, Thinfilm has been producing low-capacity read/write printable memory, which has been used in such applications as personalized toys and games.
How low is “low-capacity”? Twenty bits – but although that may sound meager, know that Thinfilm’s current products aren’t intended to store an HD video of Laurence of Arabia, but instead, to hold identification and personalization information.
And to do so cheaply. Very cheaply. A few cents per unit cheaply.
Up until Friday’s announcement, Thinfilm’s non-volatile, ferroelectric memory was completely passive – it just sat there, holding those 20 bits in its memory cells. To be rewritten or read, it needed to be accessed by an external device which used one access pad for each memory cell.
What Thinfilm and PARC have now developed is the ability to print not only the memory cells, but to also print the logic onto the same substrate needed to manage those memory cells.
“This is the first time that you’re combining organic, semiconductor-based transistors in an equivalent style to CMOS in silicon,” Thinfilm CEO Davor Sutija told The Reg.
“It’s not metal-oxide, so you can’t really call it CMOS,” he said. “It has n-type and p-type semiconductors in the design, and we’re using that logic to address and decode the printed memory.”
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