M2M and the Internet of Things

Will printable smart labels warn us of the milk going bad?

Published on: 2015-02-05

The Security Ledger had an attention-grabbing headline up on their site yesterday, announcing that, "Printable Smart Labels Warn When The Milk’s Gone Bad". Which sounds pretty amazing until you read the article and learn that the milk-monitoring might be possible some time in the future. Then, with a healthy dose of hyperbole about the Internet of Things, and how big it will be by 2020 (this year's en vogue target year for projections, it seems), we learn about what's really going on:

Exhibit 1: the Norwegian firm, ThinFilm, on Wednesday announced the successful test of a printable electronics component that is the first, fully-functional "smart" label. The company claims its disposable Smart Sensor Label can track the temperature of perishable goods and is a "complete closed system built from printed and organic electronics."

The company uses something called "ferroelectric memory," an alternative to NAND flash memory that uses a thin ferroelectric film placed between two electrodes that use voltage applied to the film to "write" binary data into memory.
There's obviously a big leap from laboratory test to product that's so cheap it can be embedded into milk cartons, but you have to start somewhere, right? And fortunately, the firm has been focusing on higher cost (and margin) temperature-sensitive pharmaceutical markets for their initial batch of sensors.

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