Academics in the US have embedded electronic sensing circuits into a drinks container cap that can detect when the contents start to spoil.
The team, drawn jointly from the University of California, Berkeley and National Chiao Tung University in Taiwan, used a multiple nozzle 3D print platform to create the demonstrator fixtures. The 3D printer was able to leave spaces 30μ wide inside the body of the plastic cap. These were subsequently injected with conductive silver inks to form functional circuitry.
The circuits laid down were able to track changes in the resonance frequency, as milk in a container changed over a 36-hour period. This data was then relayed from an on-cap wireless antenna.
Besides showing the viability of a microelectronics fabrication technique using fused deposition 3D printing, the demonstration shows a possible application of smart packaging in the Internet of Things. The main barriers to market application will remain cost and production speed on additive manufacturing platforms.
The work is summarised in the paper 3D-printed microelectronics for integrated circuitry and passive wireless sensors, published on 20 July in the journal Microsystems and Nanoengineering.
This article comes from Food Contact World, which provides exclusive news and analysis on developments in digital print trends, markets, and technologies.