Glowing ink. The concept is sexy, isn’t it? Just plug in the “LED” cartridge into your printer and watch it print you a pattern of light emitting surface. Or even better: Imagine combining glowing ink into a 3D printer: Voila! Print a complete lighting fixture in just minutes! Combine this with parametric design technologies and now you have something to really build the future with.
NthDegree is a startup exploring printed semiconductor technologies. According to their website:
“NthDegree has invented a ground-breaking new method of transferring specific semiconductor properties to a chosen substrate using a printed process and proprietary inorganic semiconductor inks. These inks are made of microscopic functional devices (e.g. diodes, transistors, etc.), which are built using traditional wafer fabrication technology. Using these tiny semiconductor devices, Nth has patented processes that enable us to create functional inks; print them using standard high-speed printing presses; and convert them into final products.”
To put this in a nutshell: Micro-sized LED die, so small that they can be suspended in fluid, can be applied to surfaces like ink or paint. Using clear conductors, those die can be powered up and turned into glowing surfaces. Not to mention the awesome flexible substrate possibilities. How cool.
And what is the first product they put this mind-blowing technology into? Of course! A 2×4 TROFFER!!!!! [as I bang my head against the table]
Nevertheless, the potential is obviously huge and it will be interesting to see if they can commercialize this into a cost-effective process and what will be the typical system efficacy.