The search for an electronic alternative to low-tech ink-on-paper has centred on ultra-thin microchips and high-tech flexible displays. But without an equally lissom energy source, their usefulness will be limited.
Now a young Israeli firm promises a printable, bendable battery. Power Paper uses silkscreen to print 1.5 volt, 500 milliamp-hour batteries as flexible, 0.5mm thick sandwiches of zinc and magnesium dioxide, costing around 10p per sq in to make.
Packaging, greetings cards, games and tomorrow's e-books could all benefit from a source of energy that can be deposited over any contour. At airports, luggage tags could broadcast their identity if their radio-frequency transmissions were powered by printed batteries.