The newspaper-style printing of electronic equipment has led to a cost-effective device that could change the way we interact with everyday objects.
A new device, known as a rectenna, which is presented today, Friday 10 August, in IOP Publishing’s journal Nanotechnology, can be placed onto objects such as price tags, logos and signage so that we can read product information on our smartphones with one simple swipe.
This type of technology, which is known as near-field communication (NFC), has already been implemented to allow fast money transactions; however, this new device could lead the way to large-scale adoption at a low cost.
The rectenna, created by researchers from Sunchon National University and Paru Printed Electronics Research Institute, could be implemented onto everyday objects so that they can harness the power given off by the smartphone’s radio waves and send information back to it via printed digital circuits.
It is called a rectenna as it is a combination of an antenna and a rectifier. The researchers state that the rectenna can harness power directly from radio waves given off by a mobile phone, converting AC into DC.
NFC technology is very similar to QR codes, whereby users take a photo of a square-shaped bar code on a poster or advert using their smartphone. The difference with NFC is that items will contain a small computer chip or digital information, operated by DC power.