The Foldable Keyboard Made from Paper

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On the search for a new keyboard for your laptop or desktop computer? Then one possible solution is a foldable keyboard made from paper if this new research is to be believed!

If you are forever having to replace your keyboard or are just looking for a simple solution for your workstation, then this brand-new research study from scientists could be of interest to you!

As featured in the journal Nano Energy, scientists from Purdue University are believed to have developed a new printing process which is able to turn a piece of paper or some cardboard into a fully working foldable keyboard, without the need for a power source.

This astonishing new discovery has been earmarked as a potential solution in creating advanced food packaging and security for sent mail, but how does it work?

How the Foldable Keyboard Made from Paper Works

Via testing at the University, a team of scientists have been able to develop a special coating that doesn’t attract liquids or dust.

As a result, this coating allows multiple layers of electronic circuitry to be printer on the top of paper or cardboard without causing any damage or smudging to anything on the paper itself, such as text or images.

The paper can then be turned over for regular ink printing, in order to illustrate where the pressure points (in the case of the foldable keyboard, the buttons) are located and what they represent when it comes to interacting with them.

This method can not only create foldable paper keyboards but can even be used to operate volume controls or any other electronic function that requires button presses.

Perhaps even more remarkably, creating these paper based foldable keyboards doesn’t require the inclusion of an external power source or batteries.

This is due to the paper or cardboard involved in this process being referred to as a triboelectric nanogenerator or TENG device, meaning it can be completely powered by the mechanical energy it produces through use.

Benefits of the Technology

As a form of technology that could be used in a variety of different ways, the concept behind foldable keyboards and other input devices made from paper is being praised for its suitability in today’s world.

The technology is earmarked as being able to scale up images and texts without issue, recyclable after use, flexible (allowing for folding without damaging components) and water resistant.

Additionally, the devices can be produced for as little as $0.25 each (approx. 19p) making it an affordable solution for anyone hoping to utilise it.

Biomedical Engineer at Purdue University, Ramses Martinez, explains the process of creating devices like the foldable keyboard in more detail, commenting:

“This is the first time a self-powered paper-based electronic device is demonstrated.

We developed a method to render paper repellent to water, oil, and dust by coating it with highly fluorinated molecules.

This omniphobic coating allows us to print multiple layers of circuits onto paper without getting the ink to smear from one layer to the other.”

Martinez adds:

“I envision this technology to facilitate the user interaction with food packaging, to verify if the food is safe to be consumed, or enabling users to sign the package that arrives at home by dragging their finger over the box to properly identify themselves as the owner of the package.”

Citing other uses for the technology, he notes:

“Additionally, our group demonstrated that simple paper sheets from a notebook can be transformed into music player interfaces for users to choose songs, play them and change their volume.”

One for the Future?

Are you excited by the prospect of this new technology and if so, how would you plan to use it for your business or organization?

Let us know your thoughts over on our Twitter account – @OfficeSuppBlog

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