Researchers develop disposable paper-based touch pads

May 10, 2012 by Lisa Zyga report
A paper-based touch pad on an alarmed cardboard box detects the change in capacitance associated with the touch of a finger to one of its buttons. The keypad requires the appropriate sequence of touches to disarm the system. Image credit: Mazzeo, et al.

(Phys.org) -- Today, electronic touch pads are widely found on laptops, tablets, and other computing devices. Less common uses, but gaining in popularity, are book covers and food labels. These and other low-tech applications become possible as touch pads become extremely inexpensive, with applications ranging from beer bottle labels to disposable medical device labels. Now a team of researchers from the US and France have developed paper-based electronic touch pads that cost just 25 cents per square meter, a price at which touch pads can simply be thrown away when no longer needed.

The touch pads are made of metallized paper, which is paper coated in aluminum and transparent polymer. The paper can function as a , and a laser can be used to cut several individual capacitors in the paper, each corresponding to a key on the . When a person touches a key, the key’s capacitance is increased. Once the keys are linked to external circuitry and a power source, the system can detect when a key is touched by detecting the increased capacitance.

According to lead researcher Aaron Mazzeo of Harvard University, the next steps will be finding a power source and electronics that are cheap, flexible, and disposable.

Among the applications, inexpensive touch pads could be used for security purposes. The researchers have already developed a box with an alarm and keypad that requires a code to allow authorized access. Disposable touch pads could also be useful in sterile or contaminated medical environments.

Explore further: Google building fleet of package-delivering drones

More information: Aaron Mazzeo, et al. "Paper-Based, Capacitive Touch Pads." DOI: 10.1002/adma.201200137
via: Chemistry World

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User comments : 22

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Display comments: newest first

foolspoo
1 / 5 (14) May 10, 2012
"A paper-based touch pad on an alarmed cardboard box detects the change in capacitance"

avoid those big words little fellar, until you are aware of the meaning
Lurker2358
1.6 / 5 (16) May 10, 2012
Disposable touch pads could also be useful in sterile or contaminated medical environments.


Right, so hospitals would have an excuse to charge another $1000 per emergency room visit, or another $1000 per day for hospitalization.

Now a team of researchers from the US and France have developed paper-based electronic touch pads that cost just 25 cents per square meter, a price at which touch pads can simply be thrown away when no longer needed.


You don't actually expect the end-user to get that price, do you?

Many medical tests actually only cost a few cents for the equipment, but you'll still pay hundreds of dollars to have the test done.

You're a naive fool if you think this will lower the cost of anything in the Medical industry. As I said, it's probably going to increase the cost to the patient and insurance companies.
IronhorseA
1 / 5 (6) May 10, 2012
Disposable touch pads could also be useful in sterile or contaminated medical environments.


You're a naive fool if you think this will lower the cost of anything in the Medical industry. As I said, it's probably going to increase the cost to the patient and insurance companies.


Actually insurance won't cover it. ;P
antialias_physorg
3.8 / 5 (4) May 10, 2012
You're a naive fool if you think this will lower the cost of anything in the Medical industry.

It can. Sterilizing equipment (especially user interfaces on electronic equipment in an OR) is a LOT more costly than having throwaway touchpads would be.
Lurker2358
1 / 5 (11) May 10, 2012
I just got a warning from my web browser stating that Physorg contains MALWARE and may harm my computer.

What are you trying to pull?
Bowler_4007
1 / 5 (10) May 10, 2012
@lurker, never heard of false positives? didn't think so
kaasinees
1.3 / 5 (15) May 10, 2012
@lurker, never heard of false positives? didn't think so

Its a filter by google, not an automated virus scanner.
They are probably trying to monitor "politically incorrect" people.
Bowler_4007
1 / 5 (9) May 10, 2012
@lurker, never heard of false positives? didn't think so

Its a filter by google, not an automated virus scanner.
They are probably trying to monitor "politically incorrect" people.
keep your weird theories to yourself this site is not a threat therefore it was a false positive, besides no-one mentioned a virus an attack site could be something as simple as a site containing code that redirects the browser or perhaps it might try to crash the browser or whatever else the malicious programmer can come up with
kaasinees
1 / 5 (10) May 11, 2012
@lurker, never heard of false positives? didn't think so

Its a filter by google, not an automated virus scanner.
They are probably trying to monitor "politically incorrect" people.
keep your weird theories to yourself this site is not a threat therefore it was a false positive, besides no-one mentioned a virus an attack site could be something as simple as a site containing code that redirects the browser or perhaps it might try to crash the browser or whatever else the malicious programmer can come up with


No it very specifically blocks phys.org and states that malware has been found and the website has been informed.

Its NOT a false-positive.
spaceagesoup
1 / 5 (10) May 11, 2012
I'm sure it is a false-positive, unless of course the phys.org site IS ACTUALLY riddled with malware.

Google gets it wrong all the time. Paranoid!!
bluehigh
1 / 5 (11) May 11, 2012
It is a POSITIVE and I am only just recovering. More details as I trawl through the win registry.

http://www.zdnet....rg/12087
bluehigh
1 / 5 (11) May 11, 2012
I believe it was a comment link to a (supposed) PDF file. Considering the damage done it will take a few more hours to provide a name and address. Currently running with reduced permissions.

patrik_pratt
1.4 / 5 (10) May 11, 2012
@lurker GTFO YOU STUPID FUCKIN TROLL!!!!!
@kaasiness Really are you just gonna feed the troll and act stupid?
@ bluehigh dude really you seem like you are trying to be the cool hacker guy who knows all about code and shit. if so then please stop acting like a little girl and get real. your only just recovering? from what your little pony folder get deleted or something? i hope you actually go into your registry and you fuck it up so bad not even ZeroCool could fix your shit
bluehigh
1 / 5 (12) May 11, 2012
Hey prick_pratt, so go ahead and tell me, you soggy brained sicko, exactly how to get Windows to use the a registry profile of my choosing as the in-built admin profile. When this malware operates it corrupts the the in-built windows administrator profile and Win then makes a new profile (as designed), so as to boot. Yes, I can the go copy all the settings and data to the newly created profile but in spite of your ill wishes i will take that one step at a time to ensure I do not loose any data during the move.

Some of us have to work for a living and so we do not have every waking hour to pour over a computer with dick in hand as you obviously do. You sad frustrated insignificant speck.

As for lurker and kaasiness, neither of these capable people need my support to fend off you. Both (regardless of thier views) can with almost zero effort deal with crap like you.

I do not have the time to be a hacker and I will not fuck up recovering my preferred operating environment.
bluehigh
1 / 5 (11) May 11, 2012
Is prick_pratt another CHollman/Deathclock alias? CHollman you need to seek treatment.
Mike_Massen
1 / 5 (10) May 11, 2012
The head of this article states
"..become extremely inexpensive.."
Not going to happen, people like nature will fill the void,
ie. If its cheap to make, someone will 'add value' to make a profit.
Also just because its cheap to make doesn't mean its function is going to be cheap, the consequences of that function in terms of time wasting are also not likely to be cheap. Time is money.

The wording is ridiculous anyway "extremely inexpensive" comes across as implied propaganda to get attention. This is a technical site (one would hope) not to be littered with populist inspired grammar and articles to sell magazines.

I've never had malware on this site however, it is easy for google to stuff up and give u a link to a similarly named site which might contain malware, that is far more likely to happen and details matter !
Mastoras
5 / 5 (2) May 11, 2012
So..., people are still making open statements that they plan to produce things which "you can *simply* throw away"?
People still think that there is such a thing as "simply throw away"?
And people think such a statement is ok, its normal, no harm done, why will someone notice it?
Do really people think that you can throw away aluminium as if aluminium sources were inexaustable?
It seems that environment degradation and climate change hasn't taught people anything about ecology.
-.
alfie_null
4 / 5 (1) May 11, 2012
Environmental impact? Doesn't sound like this type of paper is easy to recycle (compared to plain old paper). Maybe easier than some of the non-paper products it might take the place of, though.
Vendicar_Decarian
4.5 / 5 (2) May 11, 2012
Closer and closer we get to having iPads and sanitary pads made from the same stuff.

An example of convergence of the same.

antialias_physorg
4 / 5 (1) May 11, 2012
The wording is ridiculous anyway "extremely inexpensive" comes across as implied propaganda to get attention.

25 cents per square meter would fit my definition of "extremely inexpensive". Especially when compared to what other methods to produce touchpads cost.

So..., people are still making open statements that they plan to produce things which "you can *simply* throw away"?

There are areas (like medical) where you really WANT to thow stuff away. Climate and resources are high priority but occasionally there are fields in which even those priorities are relative.
Lurker2358
1 / 5 (9) May 11, 2012
There are areas (like medical) where you really WANT to thow stuff away. Climate and resources are high priority but occasionally there are fields in which even those priorities are relative.


True, but it will end up becoming a consumer item.

I can see it now, they'll be in everything: your t-shirt, your movie tickets, your "notebook" will have electronic, throw-away paper even, a box of cereal, now THERES an excuse to charge more money for a kids entertainment piece on the back of a box of cereal.

Hey, I just made 4 billion-dollars innovations out of this in like 30 seconds. Do I get to patent the idea, like Apple patents every obvious thing: squares, rounded corners, thinness, small, electronic, etc?

Heck, they'll even have electronic "post-its" too. Wow. Another billion dollar idea.

Consume, consume, consume...

...damn you consumers! Consume more, I command you!
gwrede
1 / 5 (9) May 14, 2012
Hey, I just made 4 billion-dollars innovations out of this in like 30 seconds. Do I get to patent the idea, like Apple patents every obvious thing: squares, rounded corners, thinness, small, electronic, etc?
Sure. Just hire a patent lawyer, because no ordinary person can write a patent application so it would be worth more than the paper it's on.

And steal the money for his salary and the fees. Then wait a few years, and steal everybody blind with patent litigation.

Give me a few million, and I could do the same.