CPI and the University of Kent 3D Print a Wearable Tracking Bracelet

Dr Benito Sanz Izquierdo, Lecturer in Electronic Systems at the School of Engineering and Digital Arts, University of Kent, has worked in collaboration with The Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) to print a wearable device using 3D printing techniques. This consists of a bracelet which incorporates novel printed antenna technology. The collaboration brought together the University of Kent’s leading expertise in antennas and RFID technology and CPI’s capability in printable electronics. The University of Kent provided the design and 3D Printing of the wrist band, whilst the printing of the antennas were produced at CPI’s National Centre for Printable Electronics.

The aim is to produce wearable wireless devices tailored to individual requirements. Potential market applications include health services where patients and customised equipment can be located using the existing WI-FI networks. The technology could also be used to improve wireless communication of wearable sensors.

CPI utilised aerosol jet printing techniques to produce the antennas using silver inks. Printable electronics is an emerging technology that opens up a host of design opportunities for future electronic applications in wearable electronics.

The integration of flexible form factors increases the freedom for product designers to embed technology and functionality into their wearable designs, creating the opportunity for new, innovative components that are wireless, smarter, interactive, conformable, thinner, lightweight and rugged.

Printable electronics allow the functionality of conventional electronics to be printed to virtually any surface, creating interactive wearable products with the cost and functionality that rigid circuit boards can’t deliver. The game changer is that printable electronics can provide thin, conformable and lightweight electronics using large-scale high volume manufacturing processes.

CPI is the UK’s National Centre for Printed Electronics, designed to take innovative ideas from concept to production. Further information on the collaboration can be found here