A Wireless Communication Sheet

Imagine walking into a conference room, sitting your computer down on the table, and immediately being able to share information with other devices without having to connect to a wireless network. Such a scenario might soon be a reality, thanks to new technology developed at the University of Tokyo.
Professor Takao Someya, associate researcher Tsuyoshi Someya, and their team have developed a wireless communication pad that networks multiple devices together when placed on the pad. The sheet is 1mm thick and manufactured using a process in which transistors, MEMS (microelectromechanical systems) switches, communication coils, and nonvolatile memory cells are all printed directly onto the plastic with an inkjet.

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Technology Review - Published By MIT

Communicating with Plastic

A new inkjet-printed technology enables a different kind of wireless connectivity between devices.

Bright idea: Simple electronic devices--in this image, robots illuminated by LEDs--can communicate securely through electronics embedded in a plastic sheet.
Description text

A schematic of a new communications technology. Each device (represented by white circles) transmits a radio signal to coils in a printed sheet. The signal is then carried between the devices through wires.

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Tokyo University Develops "Communication Sheet"

Dynamic Path Determination
(1) the sheet detects the location of equipment placed on it, dynamically determining the communication path, and (2) based on the result of (1), communication within the sheet is handled through a 1D communication path just like conventional wired communication, minimizing power consumption.
Layers Formed by Coating Technology

The sheet has two major characteristics: all the layers except the semiconductor layer are formed through the coating process; and it can operate for at least five months in the atmosphere, which is at least ten times longer than conventional organic memory.

Organic, Metal
Layers Form Barriers
The only issue that remains to be resolved before the communication sheet can enter commercial use is that it is currently only able to handle two pieces of equipment at once.

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Computer Power User Article - Under Development
Technology Review: Communicating with Plastic
Tokyo University Develops "Communication Sheet" -- Nikkei Electronics Asia -- February 2008 - Tech-On!
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