LONDON — Surely James Bond would never have anything to do with marked cards but now the company that supplied the playing cards used in the film 'Casino Royale' is going to add plastic memory to its products.
Memory based on the rewritable electrically polarizable properties of certain plastic materials has been in research for many years. Now printable plastic electronic memory is set to come to market for the first time in 2008, through a deal between technology developer Thin Film Electronics ASA (Oslo, Norway) and playing card company Cartamundi NV.
Cartamundi (Turnhout, Belgium), a leader in the production and sale of trading, collectable and games cards, has acquired production and commercialization rights to the memory technology under a patent and know-how, license agreement.
Cartamundi and Thinfilm have agreed to conduct joint R&D with the objective of including plastic memory in products a broad range of cards including trading and collectable cards, retail and private label cards, casino playing cards, promotional cards and printed cards that accompany electronic games played on games consoles.
The commercial terms of the agreement are undisclosed.
"Cartamundi is the undisputed leader in the market of cards and games, producing tens of billions of cards annually, making them the ideal partner specialized in high volume production of cards," said Johan Carlsson, CEO of Thin Film Electronics, in a statement. "More importantly though, Cartamundi has a large number of highly profiled brand name customers around the world, customers that we now will reach with our memory technology through Cartamundi's worldwide organization," he added.
"As part of our strategy, we are constantly trying to add value to our products, through creativeness and technological innovation. The agreement with Thinfilm is supporting this strategy as Thinfilm's printable re-writable memory technology will enable us to add value by including a functionality that has been asked for by our customers," said Chris Van Doorslaer, CEO of the Cartamundi Group, in the same statement. "Through the license agreement with Thinfilm, we will now be able to integrate a memory in the production of our cards and by that enable our customers to create a new level of sophistication and complexity into their games. Our goal is to be in production, and to supply our customers with this new feature, already next year."
Printed electronics takes advantage of printing technologies to manufacture electronics with a wider variety of form factors, including thin, flexible substrates. These electronic circuits can be manufactured at high efficiency and very high volumes when compared to traditional silicon and compound semiconductor based integrated circuits. This enables electronic functionality to be added to products such as medical and consumer disposables, cards, labels, RFID tags, toys and games.