<font size="3">Want a PC this Xmas? Then print it </font>
Turning images on your PC into real-life computer chips with your home printer sounds like science fiction, yet the first prototype is already in operation.
Dubbed Santa Claus machines, these three dimensional printers "print" real objects instead of messages -- but never before have electronics been included in a product. Soon fully assembled electric and electronic gadgets could be constructed in one go without having to add the components at great cost afterwards. "I would think it would make a difference to product designers first -- people who normally build and test prototypes," John Canny of the University of Berkeley team who developed the 3D-printer told CNN.
The technology "prints" layer upon layer of conducting and semi-conducting polymers at the same time building up the gadget. Therefore, the housing of the device can be filled with circuitry during the printing process -- in fact the object itself becomes the circuit and vice versa. "Flexonics, could considerably shorten design cycles by building function as well as form into prototypes," he adds. The integration of flexible materials with electronics has been dubbed "flexonics" and could do away with the conventional flat printed circuit board.
News source: CNN