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Canada aims to become printable electronics hub

Canada wants to be known as global leader in printable electronics, and is investing $40 million to kick off a program to develop cutting-edge technologies like smart labels, printed antennas for RFID technology and lightweight electronic devices.

RFID Research

NRC’s Printable Electronics research and development will deliver functional inks and printing processes to produce electronic circuits by the billions to be integrated into everyday objects.

The Printable Electronics Program is a five-year initiative designed to produce billions of electronic sensors and circuits to help Canadians benefit from innovations such as smart labels to reduce shipping costs, smart drug packaging to improve health care delivery, new anti-counterfeiting measures and increased bank note security. The program will also conduct research into new functional inks, printing and imprinting processes and electronic circuits.

“Printable electronics technology allows everyday objects to interact with customers in ways that were unimaginable five years ago,” says Dan Wayner, vice president of the Emerging Technologies division at the National Research Council of Canada. “It will lead to a revolution in the manufacturing of high-volume, interactive consumer products and security documents. At every level, printable electronics will revolutionize the world we live in.”

The Printable Electronics program includes a partnership with an industrial consortium – including a $16 million contribution over five years — which will pool resources from Canadian companies and research centers to provide strategic research and development, technical services, and test design and manufacturing techniques. It will also help industrial clients solve the technical gaps and commercial challenges to developing new products, and will provide a robust technology platform from which other innovations can be pursued.

“This new program and consortium will position Canada as a global leader in printable electronics,” says the Honourable Greg Rickford, Minister of State (Science and Technology). “Our government is working closely with partners across a variety of sectors, including academia and industry, to support the development of amazingly thin, flexible, and inexpensive electronic solutions, benefitting Canadians in countless ways by improving our quality of life and leading to the growth of our economy.”

The research is expected to result in innovative technology and RFID-based solutions that include drug packaging that tracks dosage history and food labeling that tells consumers when their food has spoiled.

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