The 2010 Frost & Sullivan Global New Product Innovation Award in Printed Electronic Memories is presented to Thin Film Electronics ASA ('Thinfilm'). The company is commended for its unique non-volatile, printable, polymer-based memory products.
"Thin Film Electronics has a clear edge over its competitors in terms of product design based on an innovative technique," notes Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst, Sunanda Jayanth. "A key characteristic of the innovative technology is that it is fully printable in high volume roll-to-roll machines. Another advantage of the technology used by Thinfilm is that it is based on nontoxic materials."
The company has developed a specific group of printable polymers that are bi-stable and thus used as the active material in Thinfilm's rewritable non-volatile memory.
"These polymers are 'smart,' to the extent that functionality is built into the material itself, like switchability, addressability and charge store," says Jayanth. "This is different from silicon and other electronic materials, where such functions typically are only achieved by complex circuitry. Such 'smart' materials open up tremendous opportunities in the electronics world."
Thinfilm's innovative all-printed, re-writable memories find utilisation in standalone consumer applications, such as interactive, personalised toys and online-enabled cards and games. They can also be integrated with batteries, displays, logic, and sensors for the development of all printed radio frequency identification (RFID) tags. Other suitable application areas include authentication, brand protection, in logistics and supply chain automation, and as a general purpose memory.
The prime focus for Thinfilm has been consumer markets and, in particular, the toy and game industry. Thinfilm's product offerings for this market include the Thinfilm Memory™, a 20-bit non-volatile rewriteable memory printed in a high-volume roll-to-roll process, and the Thinfilm Memory Controller™.
The Thinfilm Memory Controller™ is an application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC). It will enable toy manufacturers to design smaller, more cost effective reader/writer units, while accelerating the market launch of smart toys powered by Thinfilm.
"The new Thinfilm Memory Controller™ is expected to further increase the cost efficiency of Thinfilm printed memory compared to alternatives, such as magnetic cards and flash, on a per-chip/per-device basis," remarks Jayanth. "Another key advantage is negligible power consumption during read and write and none during stand-by. These advantages, combined with environmentally-friendly production, make it well suited for application with other printed electronics."
The novel Thinfilm Toy Development Kit includes instructions for programming and other tools needed to efficiently design smart products using Thinfilm Memory. It contains a hand-held reader/writer for memory-labeled cards, samples of the newly developed Thinfilm Memory Controller, and tags with Thinfilm Memory.
Thinfilm also recently announced that it is developing prototypes of higher-density addressable printed memories: Thinfilm Adressable Memory™. These prototypes, which combine Thinfilm Memory with printed logic, will be ready later this year. Transfer to production for the addressable memory is expected in 2012.
Each year, Frost & Sullivan presents this award to the company that has demonstrated excellence in the following categories: innovative element of the product, leverage of leading edge technologies, value added features/benefits, increased customer ROI and customer acquisition/penetration potential.
Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Awards recognise companies in a variety of regional and global markets for demonstrating outstanding achievement and superior performance in areas such as leadership, technological innovation, customer service, and strategic product development. Industry analysts compare market participants and measure performance through in-depth interviews, analysis, and extensive secondary research in order to identify best practices in the industry.