Touch-interactive posters combine conductive ink patterns with Bluetooth chip to run smartphone apps

Touch-interactive posters combine conductive ink patterns with Bluetooth chip to run smartphone apps

Technology News |
Cambridge startup Novalia has demonstrated printed conductive ink on paper to implement circuit tracks and touch-patterns connected to a wafer-thin Bluetooth low energy chip embedded into cardboard.
By eeNews Europe


Together, these components allow new mass-market applications such as interactive posters and books or personalized greetings cards that can connect to a smartphone wirelessly and run entertainment or control apps.

Using the nRF51822 system-on-chip from Nordic Semiconductor and any Bluetooth v4.0 enabled smartphone or gadget, the printed posters require very little manual assembly or wiring. Novalia has demonstrated a Bluetooth-connected printed keyboard, 10 times thinner than any other similar device on the market, which can be printed at 100 meters-per-minute on a standard print press.

The fully-functioning QWERTY keyboard is printed with conductive ink on a regular sheet of A4-sized photo paper that weighs just 30g (not including batteries). A 120x25mm control module with two CR2016 watch batteries and electronics housing, only 2mm deep, is embedded into the supporting cardboard, while the actual keyboard area could be as thin as 50-microns.

The QWERTY keyboard keys are printed on regular paper layered upon a 20×8, X-Y touch matrix substrate printed on the photo paper that can be re-configured in software to represent any language or indeed other user or developer-assigned functionality. The Nordic Semiconductor nRF51822’s on-board 32-bit ARM Cortex M0 based processor manages the capacitive touch side of the application, while the SoC’s ultra-low power performance supports a battery life of up to 18-months (9-months for a single CR2032).

A simpler version of this keyboard has already been developed by Novalia. Called ‘Switchboard’, it comprises eight capacitive touch buttons printed onto a piece of A5-sized printed paper mounted on foam card that can be configured to control (or be controlled by) apps running on any Bluetooth v4.0 enabled iOS device.

The company has also demonstrated a drum poster comprising a printed image of a drum kit that allows users to play the drums either standalone or wirelessly through a Bluetooth v4.0 enabled iPhone or iPad by simply touching the individual drum or cymbal pictured.

Developers Kits are available from Novalia which is actively inviting and partnering with interested companies to begin developing ground-breaking applications based on its patented technology.

Visit Novalia at

Visit Nordic Semiconductor at

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