Mind & Matter


Power in Print

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Printable Battery. Photo by Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft.


The New York Times published their “9th Annual Year in Ideas” in today’s Magazine. Like past collections, this year’s article includes notable concepts that appeared throughout the past year—”the twigs and sticks and shiny paper scraps of human ingenuity.” While not all ideas are what we might define as ideas in the sense of creative proposals (“Literary Alzheimer’s,” for instance), there are several intriguing notions with implications for the constructed environment.

One idea is Printable Batteries, a research endeavor initiated by the Fraunhofer Institute. This energy storage technology is aimed to provide new thin film display devices with a comparably unencumbering power supply, unlike current devices that require heavy battery packs. According to researcher Andreas Willert, a 15 cm2 sheet of printable battery would provide energy equivalent to a watch battery—not a lot of power, but enough to drive a small electronic ink display for several weeks.



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About the Blogger

Blaine Brownell

thumbnail image Minnesota-based architect and author Blaine Brownell, AIA, is a self-defined materials researcher and sustainable building adviser. His "Product of the Week" emails and three volumes of Transmaterial (2006, 2008, 2010) provide designers with a steady flow of inspiration—a 21st-century Grammar of Ornament. Blaine has practiced architecture in Japan and the U.S. and has been published in more than 40 design, business, and science publications. The recipient of a Fulbright fellowship for 2006–07, he researched contemporary Japanese material innovations at the Tokyo University of Science. He currently teaches architecture and co-directs the M.S. in Sustainable Design program at the University of Minnesota. His book Matter in the Floating World was published by Princeton Architectural Press in 2011.