A really interesting Kickstarter floated past my desk this morning and caught my eye. The title, "Circuit Scribe: Draw Circuits instantly" actually confused me for a moment. "Don't we already have conductive pens?" I thought. I went ahead and clicked on it, expecting to see a bunch of hype and no innovation.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that this actually looks like something worthwhile! The company ElectronInks has been working to improve the state of conductive inks. I've personally been frustrated with globby inks that crack and peel from surfaces that aren't completely rigid, so I found ElectronInks' solution (pun intended) to be quite refreshing.
Their pen looks quite interesting. The line it delivers looks consistent and smooth in the videos. I wouldn't mind trying it myself.
Of course, we all realize that the conductive pen isn't a complete show in itself. It isn't quite enough to push a Kickstarter campaign anyway. They have also developed a pretty neat little collection of circuit pieces that can be snapped onto your substrate with magnets to allow for some quick prototyping. You can see a few of them in action in the video. They have switches, lights, buzzers, buttons, sensors, timers, and microcontrollers. They even have stencils for drawing out pre-planned circuits!
Now, you're obviously not going to be using this for complex prototyping. You can't erase, reroute, or do anything extremely complex (although the LED grid is rather impressive). However, this seems like it is perfect for educational facilities, art classrooms, and toyboxes. I could easily see this being used when explaining electricity over those ancient (and rusty) switches, D batteries, and incandescent bulbs we all recall so fondly.
I would love to hear any other ideas you could come up with for potential uses for this. Let me hear the best you've got in the comments.
— Caleb Kraft, Chief Community Editor, EE Times
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