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These sensors have numerous applications, such as tracking data from airplane, wind turbines, engines, and medical devices

How Printed and Flexible Sensors Strengthen Advantage of the Internet of Things

Printed electronics are being touted as the next best thing in Internet of Things (IoT), the technology that is rightly regarded as a boon of advancing technology. Silicon-based sensors are the first that have been associated with IoT technology. These sensors have numerous applications, such as tracking data from airplane, wind turbines, engines, and medical devices, among other internet connected devices.

However, these silicon-based devices are not suitable for several other applications. Bendable packaging and premium items are some of the applications where embedded sensors do not work. For such applications, printed electronics fit the need. Using sensor technology, information is transferred on smart labels that can be attached to packages to be tracked in real time.

Some Applications of Printed Sensor Technology

  • Grocery Industry: While the bar code is the standard technology used in the grocery sector, the technology has limitations pertaining to the data it can store. Also, for some products, product packaging can run up to 30-40% of the cost, for which printed sensors are best-suited to save packaging costs. For such needs, a printed sensor is the most apt solution for real-time information about a product's temperature, moisture, location, movement, and much more. Companies can check these parameters to validate the freshness and prevent substantial spoilage. Smart labels are also used to validate the authenticity of products.
  • Healthcare: The use of smart labels enables manufacturers and logistics firms to track the usage and disposal of pharmaceuticals and to control inventory. The use of smart labels on patients' clothing enables them to check their body temperature, dampness of adult diapers, or bandages for assisted living scenarios.
  • Logistics: Radio frequency identification (RFID) was the standard tag used by logistics companies until recently to identify shipping crates that carried perishable products. RFID is increasingly being replaced by smart labels that enable tracking of individual items. This facilitates companies to track products at the item level rather than at the container shipping level.

Biosensors Lead Printed and Flexible Sensors Market
The global market of Internet-of-things (IoT), which is worth billions, combined with the proliferation of cloud apps, sensors, and wireless networks, is expected to provide immense growth opportunities for the global printed sensors and flexible sensors market. In countries such as the U.S., Germany, the U.K., and China, increasing government support for consolidation of the printed and flexible sensors has benefitted the overall market for these products.

Biosensors are most extensively used with the largest market share in the global market for printed and flexible sensors. Glucose strips incorporated with a biosensor are one of the most sought after ways to track and monitor glucose levels among diabetics. Thus, it accounts as a multi-billion dollar segment in the global market for printed and flexible sensors. To evaluate and monitor working of the heart, kidney diseases, and cancer are the other emerging applications where printed biosensors technology is being utilized.

The expanding automobile industry holds promise for piezoelectric type printed flexible sensors for performance testing during production. Due to these varied applications of printed and flexible sensors, the global market for printed and flexible sensors will expand at a slow but steady 2.5% CAGR in the next six years starting from 2012.

More Stories By Ram Sonagara

Ram Sonagara works at Transparency Market Research. TMR is a market intelligence company providing global business research reports and consulting services.

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