Kovio, a technology start-up from Sunnyvale, California, has developed technology that uses inkjet printers to print transistors for memory and logic chips.
Kovio is one of a number of companies developing ultracheap alternatives to conventional microchips by replacing conventional photolithography methods with printing techniques. Such processes produce larger transistors than conventional chip-making methods — a printed chip might have a thousand transistors, rather than hundreds of millions — and won't likely compete with the microchips used in computing or consumer electronics.
Printing electronics with inkjet printers is not a new development. There are several companies offering solutions in this area, but what sets Kovio apart is that its technique is based on inorganic materials, such as silicon, which makes it possible to develop devices that meet RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) standards.
RFID is one technology that has innumerable applications, whether it be individuals or businesses. It's the cost factor for electronic tracking technology that will get a boost from Kovio's technology.