Disposable electronics could mean more than just the IoT

By | December 19, 2018

The recent Spectrum article on how cheap, biodegradable and disposable electronic parts could bring the IoT a lot more applications than it has today is something quite captivating. I mean, with the combination of low production costs, environmentally friendly disposal, and ubiquity, why just stop at internet-connected applications?

In particular, consider wearable electronics. If we can embed low-energy circuits into plastic fibers, what is there to prevent us from weaving low-energy circuits into clothing – which offers sufficient surface area to create more complex circuits? Link it up with a stylish button containing a microprocessor… or add a decent battery pack in a breast pocket, or maybe in the future there will be some kinetic form of energy transforming sweater ripples into sufficient energy to power a low-power circuit… and you might even be able to have all the capabilities of a voice-activated personal assistant – if not a smartphone, if one of those stylish buttons also contains internet connectivity – built into your sweater.

Okay, I’m dreaming again. But given the developments that we’re seeing here, I don’t think that this type of application is that far away from the future. And it will drive the cost of consumer electronics down, once we reduce our dependency on (rarer) metals. It’s going to be an interesting future indeed!

The Internet of Disposable Things Will Be Made of Paper and Plastic Sensors – IEEE Spectrum
For disposable sensors, silicon will never be the right fit—but cheaper tech is nearly here

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