Soon, interact with products before shopping

By: |
London | Published: April 10, 2016 1:15:33 PM

Instead of reading labels, consumers may soon be interacting with an electronic screen on packaging that displays information about the product, thanks to a new technology that could revolutionise the packaging industry.

black friday deals, amazonResearchers also designed and constructed a touch-pad keyboard on the paper that allows a user to selectively ‘drive’ the LEDs in the display. (AP)

Instead of reading labels, consumers may soon be interacting with an electronic screen on packaging that displays information about the product, thanks to a new technology that could revolutionise the packaging industry.

Researchers at the University of Sheffield in the UK collaborated with technology company Novalia to create a new way of displaying information on packaging.

This technology could be used in greetings cards or products where a customer could receive a simple message, researchers said.

More complex developments could include a countdown timer on the side of a packet to indicate when a timed product was ready – such as hair-dye, pregnancy tests or home-baking using a ‘traffic lights’ system, they said.

The team explain how a screen can be fixed onto packaging to display information.

The process involves printing electronic tracks onto paper and then fixing low-cost electronics and a polymer LED display to the paper using an adhesive that conducts electricity.

Researchers also designed and constructed a touch-pad keyboard on the paper that allows a user to selectively ‘drive’ the LEDs in the display.

The research testing so far has taken place on paper but the process could potentially be printed on other surfaces.

The team’s next steps are to create fully flexible organic displays on a plastic substrate that then fix onto the electronic tracks. The LED devices need to be low-cost and flexible enough to be used on all packaging.

“Labels on packaging could become much more innovative, and allow customers to interact with and explore new products,” said Professor David Lidzey from the university’s Department of Physics and Astronomy.

“The use of displays or light emitting panels on packaging will also allow companies to communicate brand awareness in a more sophisticated manner,” said Lidzey.

“The paper-based packaging industry is worth billions of dollars. This innovative system we have developed with the University of Sheffield could give manufacturers a way to gain market share by being able to distinguish its products from competitors,” said Chris Jones from Novalia.

The research was published in the IEEE Journal of Display Technology.

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