The electronics industry has disappeared to Asia with gathering speed over recent years – even the products themselves have begun to vanish. By utilising this turn point in technology, Finland’s electronics sector has the chance to re-materialise following its downturn.
LED bulbs are disappearing into thin, flexible illuminating surfaces that merge with the decor and give off a pleasant light. This offers totally new possibilities to interior design.
Flexible solar cells are disappearing among various design elements, generating energy in either outdoor or indoor spaces.
Watch the video to see how flexible solar cells are printed at VTT using roll-to-roll technique.
Surface-embedded switches are disappearing within structures, just as game controls are disappearing into tables and boards. The surfaces can be planned based on design as the electronic parts are hidden.
A range of wirelessly readable sensors, such as temperature and moisture sensors, are also disappearing inside structures. The data received from large amount of sensors gives the opportunity to improve the temperature convenience and energy efficiency simultaneously. Wirelessly readable sensors can also be dug into the ground to measure, say, growing conditions or dangerous substances, after which they disappear through decomposition.
Wearable electronics are disappearing from wrist straps and other accessories, first onto fabrics and then stickers on – and eventually being inserted under –the skin. The development of wellbeing and healthcare services will change radically.
Displays are disappearing from in front of the glasses inside the glasses offering a user interface which merges unnoticeably in to the user’s visual field. Wireless sensors are disappearing inside sports gear and are communicating with cloud services, which analyse data to improve sports performance. Finland has a chance to return to the winners’ podium!
All these technologies exist and they are developed at VTT. We create ‘disappearing’ electronics in the Printocent pilot plant in Oulu, Finland. Due to the large volumes needed, production is based on an extremely efficient roll-to-roll technique, inspired by the disappearing paper industry.
VTT is one of the founding members of the Printocent community, which has brought several ‘disappearing’ or printed electronics companies into the world, created a business network to accelerate the pace at which electronics disappears and trained experts in making electronics vanish and new businesses materialise. This has led to a unique innovation environment which is helping technology developers, entrepreneurs and companies to create game-changing products and take Finland’s competitiveness to a new level. Things have got off to a great start and fast growth is in prospect, with room on board for all enthusiastic developers. Stick around – don’t disappear!
Head of Research Area