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Data Storage Science

New 'Spray-On' Memory Could Turn Everyday Items Into Digital Storage Devices (duke.edu) 38

Researchers at Duke University have developed "spray-on" digital memory using only an aerosol jet printer and nanoparticle inks. An anonymous reader quotes Duke Today: The device, which is analogous to a 4-bit flash drive, is the first fully-printed digital memory that would be suitable for practical use in simple electronics such as environmental sensors or RFID tags. And because it is jet-printed at relatively low temperatures, it could be used to build programmable electronic devices on bendable materials like paper, plastic or fabric...

The new material, made of silica-coated copper nanowires encased in a polymer matrix, encodes information not in states of charge but instead in states of resistance. By applying a small voltage, it can be switched between a state of high resistance, which stops electric current, and a state of low resistance, which allows current to flow. And, unlike silicon, the nanowires and the polymer can be dissolved in methanol, creating a liquid that can be sprayed through the nozzle of a printer.

Amazingly, its write speed is three microseconds, "rivaling the speed of flash drives." The information can be re-written many times, and the stored data can last for up to 10 years.
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New 'Spray-On' Memory Could Turn Everyday Items Into Digital Storage Devices

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  • I would use it on my hair.
  • What the fuck is wrong with consumerism. It doesn't even know what convenience is anymore.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      If you want to avoid toxic materials, maybe you shouldn't be drinking the contents of ink jet printer cartridges.

      And you can use the time you save by not drinking ink jet printer cartridges to read the goddamn article.

  • Well, I guess this spells the end of the 'paperless office' revolution.

    Going to have to recover all those old loose-leaf binders to repurpose tham as data storage files -lol-

    Who'd a thought the old paper junk could actually be digitized, in the most literal sense.

    • by mysidia ( 191772 ) on Sunday April 09, 2017 @02:18PM (#54202537)

      Now any household object, and even the building itself can be a data storage device......

      This has security ramifications, And also ramifications for law enforcement.
      Occassional/Typical seizure warrant language for an investigation these days is "Any data storage device", basically data storage is a treasure trove, so anyone under investigation or potential suspicion of having information or participation in any kind of crime or illegal act will have all their data storage devices seized, in order to do forensic analysis and search all data for possible leads or connections on any pending cases, or in order to open new cases.

      But if people can print data storage on ANYTHING, then EVERYTHING including clothing will have to be thoroughly examined to see if it might contain some printed-on memory.

  • by K. S. Kyosuke ( 729550 ) on Sunday April 09, 2017 @02:10PM (#54202511)
    My fountain pen turns everyday objects into digital storage devices. (When it doesn't, I use a felt tip pen instead.)
    • by Osgeld ( 1900440 )

      much like magnetic media, its an analog device recording what can be read back as digital information, but the storage medium itself is not digital

  • In order to use the memory, you're going to need to include a bunch of other electronics, like an RFID tag. And if you already have the electronics, you may as well put conventional memory in there.

    • True, but this sounds like it's (possibly) more environmentally friendly and cheaper to make than regular Flash. I guess it also opens up possibilities for a printed business card or whatever that you can put into a reader. Sort of like the branded flash drives people throw around now, but cheaper, more disposable and in (even more) different shapes.

  • I doubt any sprayed on material will last ten years from routine washing and drying cycles.
    • by HiThere ( 15173 )

      re: Japanese Proverb: "The nail that sticks out the most gets hammered the most."

      The way I heard it was:
      The nail the protrudes will be struck down.

      I think the translation I heard more clearly reveals the meaning. Think a feudal society.

      • I think the translation I heard more clearly reveals the meaning. Think a feudal society.

        Yours is probably the third variation of this proverb that I've read on Slashdot.

  • Don't tell Trump! We can't let him know that Obama sprayed all his very long, made in China ties with this stuff to record everything he says!

  • Because they keep forgetting things.

  • Do we have an idea of how much density (byte per surface unit) it can achieve?

Bell Labs Unix -- Reach out and grep someone.