Deal creates wirelessly charged consumer packaging and security cards

November 13, 2018 // By Nick Flaherty
Wireless power specialist Powercast is working with materials supplier PPG on ultra-thin wirelessly powered printed electronic systems that can be used for consumer packaging in supermarkets.

The joint development agreement combines PPG TESLIN substrate and conductive inks with Powercast’s Powerharvester receiver technology for delivering over-the-air wireless power to create LED-based wireless illumination for smart consumer packaging and also for smart ID cards with enhanced security. With the technology, the packaging lights up to showcase products on a shelf without having to have a power supply. Smart ID cards also illuminate to permit or deny access to restricted areas or to verify user credentials.

The deal will allow developers to seal electronics into packaging and cards via lamination to provide indefinite illumination without wires, batteries, charging ports or direct contact with a power source. POwercast's technology is one of two free space charging systems to be approved by the FCC for use in the US. 

“Powercast is excited to partner with PPG to deliver differentiation to the product packaging and secure credential markets,” said Dr Charles Greene, chief operating and technology officer at Powercast. “PPG Teslin substrate and the company’s conductive inks have great RF characteristics, which complement Powercast’s long-range wireless power technology.”

The illuminated products are created by printing graphics or information on one side of PPG Teslin substrate using conventional or digital print technologies. The electronic circuitry is printed directly onto the opposite side of the substrate using PPG’s conductive inks. The ultra-thin (1 millimeter or less) Powerharvester wireless power receiver chip and other components are then attached to the substrate using conductive epoxy, and the label is laminated to seal in the electronic circuitry.

Powercast’s embedded Powerharvester receiver chips harness RF energy wirelessly from a Powercast Powerspot transmitter or other RF source. The harnessed RF is turned into useable DC energy to power embedded electronics and LEDs.

The first application has a PPG Teslin label on a six-pack of beer from Straub Brewing of Pennsylvania that illuminates the package and draw attention to the Straub brand. The second application is a smart ID card that authenticates a user based on proximity to an ID reader.


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