Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Printing Electronics and the End of Print?

Scientists synthesize plastic suitable for printing electronics (emphasis mine):

A team composed of academic and corporate scientists from the US and UK have succeeded in creating a conductive plastic that could soon lead to the cheap printable electronics that we're often promised but have yet to see. Researchers from Merck, PARC, and Stanfords University and Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory were able to tweak the structure of a regular organic polymer to create a so-called 'semi-conducting polythiopene,' which improves upon standard silicon in that it can be laid down using simple inkjet printing techniques while at the same time producing less waste. Although the new material will never replace silicon as the choice for hardcore computing applications, the fact that this team has already created transistors with the new technology may mean that the promised land of ubiquitous, disposable e-paper is closer than we think.

In somewhat related news, Glenn Reynolds asks if newspapers are in trouble?

Arnold Kling offers a good economic perspective on this question:

From an economic perspective, this is not as simple as it sounds. The printing press is what makes newspapers large, centralized organizations. If you get rid of the printing press, then what does an individual reporter get out of affiliating with a newspaper?
Makes me wonder what's next for text-based media?

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