Get Ready For Plastic Memory

from the what's-next dept

Found via Slashdot comes the news of some breakthroughs in plastic flash memory. It's obviously still very early, and there are some limitations on the technology right now, but the potential makes it quite a worthwhile technology to follow. While it may not ever match what silicon flash memory can do in terms of storage and stability, plastic memory could provide some new and fascinating options for implementation, mainly in being a lot more flexible. That means it could be integrated into all sorts of new things -- including electronic paper and other offerings. Of course, the trickiest part in understanding new disruptive technologies is often in thinking about what sorts of new products it would allow. So it would be great to hear from folks what they think flexible, plastic memory might allow, and how it might change certain markets.
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Filed Under: flash memory, innovation, memory, plastic memory

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  • identicon
    ., 15 Dec 2009 @ 6:14pm


    Now people can buy in bulk a lot of little cards and distribute them like flyers with movies and music.

    How long till someone gets busted selling those things?

    Christmas cards with movies inside yay!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Ok - then, 15 Dec 2009 @ 6:27pm

      Re: Pirates.

      Yes, I'm sure that will be the only use for such things. So glad you are on top of this, I can sleep better tonight knowing all is well. Thx

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Shawn, 15 Dec 2009 @ 7:24pm

    there could be a lot of uses.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      boes (profile), 15 Dec 2009 @ 7:28pm

      Re: there could be a lot of uses.

      clothing would be the first thing that pops into my head.

      Smart Jackets that would adjust the resistance to heat transfer based on the wearer's body temperature and outside temperature.

      if the memory and eventually the entire system could be made of light weight and flexible plastic, that would make having the system on board feasible.

      I am thinking about it using the paper batteries that were discussed on /. the other day. which gives the power supply, now the memory, so ....

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Designerfx (profile), 15 Dec 2009 @ 7:25pm


    I think the memristor potential/equivalent via storing the memory for a day, has more potential than simply being more flexible.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Bubba Gump (profile), 15 Dec 2009 @ 8:49pm

    food packaging

    kid snacks with games built into the packaging

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Matthew Cruse (profile), 15 Dec 2009 @ 10:02pm

    Business cards with resume's vital data etc built in, connect to phone or other device via bluetooth an download. Whole slew of applications along those lines

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Elvenrunelord, 16 Dec 2009 @ 5:15am

    I can't believe no one mentioned

    smart sex toys. Come on guys....fess up, you know you were thinking about it yet to embarrassed to type it out!


    Seriously, can't want to try a electronically enhanced dildo on my girlfriend.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Yeebok (profile), 16 Dec 2009 @ 5:15am

    Lots of uses.

    Gawd, there's tons.
    You could have a standard personal card of data to plug into stuff (like placing your driver's license on a stereo and hearing your songs).
    Have a convenient easily-replaceable cheap way to 'flash' a device by changing part of it's case.
    Hand out credit card sized videos of advertising (boo.. boo)
    Make funky looking USB sticks with no metal.
    The sensor use suggested in the paper is darned cool too.

    The only drawback to it I can think of is how do you deal with scuffs ? Have a 5mm outer layer with nothing in it ?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Money Mike (profile), 16 Dec 2009 @ 7:34am

      Re: Lots of uses.

      My first thought was smaller, cheaper flash drives made of just plastic, but wouldn't the USB connector still need to be metal?

      I agree the possibilities are almost limitless.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Michael (profile), 16 Dec 2009 @ 9:52pm

        Re: Re: Lots of uses.

        Nope, the USB connector need only be conductive. However it does have to be stiff enough to go in properly and form a pressure fit.

        What I want to see most is a -washable- connector that can be easily buttoned in to clothing at the sleeve. If you did that, you could -literally- carry around a USB key that you could use for login, and general keysigning tasks. As a bonus you could also stuff all your normal card info on to it.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    TDR, 16 Dec 2009 @ 8:34am

    Just a thought, but it would be better, I think, to find a base material for the new memory cards other than plastic, which (like silicon, I think) is made from oil/petroleum. Just another way to make us less dependent on it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    iHateApple though..., 16 Dec 2009 @ 9:07am

    I know, I know!

    You know those plastic or rubbery covers everyone has to buy for their iShit cuz it will scratch beyond all belief when it comes in contact with cotton, if you don't have a cover?

    Well, there you go, all those covers that are made to cover up (lol) Apple's failures at material selection can now be expandable memory and Apple won't look so stupid anymore.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Hephaestus (profile), 16 Dec 2009 @ 6:56pm

    Heres an idea ...

    ... Feel FREE to use it .... you will get that joke in a moment

    Information in the age of the internet has great personal and societal value but no real monetary worth. Micro economically speaking, when information is infinitely replicatable, at almost no cost, it has a small but finite monetary value that approaches Zero. That is basic supply and demand economics. Look at this chart to see whats happening to the media distribution industries.

    Currently you can go down to Sears and order a CNC mill for wood working, you can go online an order rapid prototyping machines for building wax, and plastic models. People are printing out electronics and computer circuitry on ink jet printers. Combining the two enters us into a whole new world of possibilities. As with information we are slowly gaining the knowledge to replicate materials items in an infinite way. This plastic flash memory is one small step in that direction.

    Now lets crunch some numbers in a way that replicates (pun) the numbers given by the recording industry on piracy losses ... GRIN ... (ie use real numbers and spin them slightly in our favor)

    Here are our "FACTS" ....

    -Ink jet printer can put down a layer of material that less than 1/4000 of an inch thick.
    -An Ink jet printer can have a resolution of up to 5000 x 5000 Dots per inch.
    -Electronic circuits, OLED's, conductive polymers, metal pathways, and transistors can be printed using an ink jet printer
    -Structural materials (plastics) can be printed using an ink jet printer
    -Contact sensors can be built using an inkjey printer
    -rapid prototyping can be done in as many layers as needed
    -An ink jet printer can do upto 15 sheets per minute

    Lets see what we can do with these facts .... Lets build something ... a new 100 GByte USB flash memory storage device ... (we are going to ignore these and other facts, the alignment of 1/5000th cant be done layer after layer on an inkjet, the dry time required for each layer, the fact that no one has yet done flash memory on an inkjet)

    First lets figure out our storage density ... With the printer at 5000x5000 dpi that would be ~2500x2500 with spacing between flash memory cells. Thats a memory density of 6.25 Mbits per inch^2, divided by 8 (to find the bytes) 781,250 bytes per inch^2.

    Now using 8 1/2 x 11 inch stock for our printer lets find out what our storage capacity is per memory layer. 8.5 x 11 x 781,250 bytes per inch^2 = 73,046,875 bytes per memory layer. Each memory layer consists of 4 individual layers, plastic film, metal transistor gates layer, aluminum oxide, and an insulating polymer. So with inkjet printer laying down 1/4000 th per pass that means each layer will be 1/4000 div 4 = 1/1000 th inch thick. (This ignores the fact you cant layer Al2O3 that way. You probably can find a some other material to use in an inkjet that has the same qualities, dielectric, resistance,etc)

    Now how many layers do we need for 100 GByte???

    100,000,000,000 bytes div 73,046,875 bytes per memory layer = ~1369 memory layers or in inches 8.5 x 11 x 1.37 inches.

    How long would it take to make ???

    1369 memory layers x 4 actual layers = 5476 actual layers.
    5476 layers div 15 layers per minute = 365 minutes or 6 hours.

    Okay this was total BS with current technology but it was fun to do ... :)

    The one thing missing with inkjet printing of electronic circuits is the memory. This is a step in the right direction.

    Now Imagine a day in the near future when the companies that manufacture solid items start going through the same pains as the information distribution companies. When this technology or nano technology begins to allow anyone to manufacture anything they want anytime they want to. In the end all you need is to pay for raw materials once and just recycle them ... When everything is FREE after you buy the raw materials once ...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Hephaestus (profile), 16 Dec 2009 @ 7:52pm

    Okay enough of that utopian BS I just spouted ....

    What can you do with cheap flexible plastic flash memory ??? Lets create some prior art ...

    Smart paper that you wave your cell phone, credit card, etc over and you can leave your contact, payment, etc info.

    re-useable smart paper.

    Newspapers of the future where you walk or drive by the 7 11 with the paper and its uploaded.

    better yet smart paper that you just drop near a wifi connection and the paper or any news you have choosen is uploaded.

    The smart paper mixed with wifi has to many uses so I will stop with it and go on to other ideas and just say ....

    Smart paper with WiFi ...

    Final smart paper thought ... Smart paper, with WiFi, non visible light Solar Cells (IR, UV), and super capacitor power cells. All of this can, with a little research, be printed out on and inkjet printer and or pressed out.

    /thought chain

    wearable patch type medical monitors ... with wifi download abilities

    /thought chain

    Price tags in stores that are embeded in the UPC code that can be programmed at a distance with the price. Think The Internet of Things. Where you leave the store with a credit card in your pocket and you dont need to check out, just walk out.

    /thought chain

    Programmable shipping tags for fedex or the USPS

    /thought chain

    Programmable Stamps for fedex or the USPS

    /thought chain

    combine the previous two ....
    programmable shipping tags with programmable stamps-payment included

    /thought chain

    The next new media that saves the record labels, music paper!!


    A new programmable smart paper based outfit for Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta


    WiFi'd and or Visual, Medical Id bracelets to prevent the wrong person from getting the wrong surgery or medication.

    /thought chain

    I could come up with a couple hundred more ... now lets see the rest of you lamers come up with stuff other than smart dildos ... some times this place is so LCD - scroll to the bottom to see my meaning

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jamie, 28 Dec 2009 @ 5:33am

    Hey remember those plastic records McDonalds gave out?

    It must have been around 1987 or so, McDonalds had the Bic Mac jingle...

    They distributed millions of plastic records (like phonographs, remember those?) and if you got the one with the chorus singing the jingle correctly, then you won a million cheeseburgers or something.

    my point is, imagine a cheap, disposable, medium to distribute data...

    oh wait, they had those, they were called CD's...

    guess this won't change the world after all

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    truyh, 28 Dec 2009 @ 6:42pm

    It is plastic card manufacturer not difficult to understand why the Nobel Peace Prize plastic card manufacturer awarded to the land planting trees in Africa, a non-governmental organizations and individuals are plastic card manufacturer not difficult to understand why the Nobel Committee of the plastic card manufacturer judges knew the hands of some of the Nobel Peace Prize laureate has plastic card manufacturer been covered with the blood.

    but green printing still green printing willing to Nobel Peace Prize awarded to them. Perhaps the Nobel Committee judges it, green printing if they feel benevolent thoughts, discard the killings and strife,green printing population obsessed with peace and human rights, it would receive the green printing Nobel Peace Prize.

    This is a smart card security strong psychological hint, it marks smart card security the Nobel Committee for the Nobel Peace Prize is being given new meaning. smart card security They are based smart card security on forward-looking attitude, the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to smart card security those who may influence others and the world of celebrities.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    wseg, 30 Dec 2009 @ 12:59am

    hologram Must be recognized, and now"> hologram
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    integrate theory with practice turn. Unfortunately,plastic card

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    suppliesknowledge of the situation, their knowledge is not only

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    derail even the basic requirements of academic study, but also

    often "sheep management" lost. A result, university

    graduatesplastic card supplies.

    plastic business

    not only the lack of academic study of the habits of mind,

    plastic business cardat work often sigh, "nowhere." Learning

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    card and this itself into a paradox, this, or it gave rise to

    "people of God of Wrath "the root plastic business card.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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