hand drawn pen on paper electronic circuits
hand drawn pen on paper electronic circuits hand drawn pen on paper electronic circuits
jun 29, 2011

hand drawn pen on paper electronic circuits

a silver-inked rollerball pen permits circuits to be handdrawn onto paper and other materials; here, used to draw the wiring between the LEDs all images © bok yeop ahn

a silver-inked rollerball pen lets users draw electrical circuits by hand directly onto paper, wood, and other surfaces, opening up a range of possible options for flexible and disposable electronics and electronic media art. the research team behind the prototype device was led by engineers jennifer lewis and jennifer bernhard, both of the college of engineering of the university of illinois.

the ink of the pen is composed of silver, which after drying maintains its conductivity even through multiple bends and folds of paper. the researchers now plan to expand the palette of inks to enable pen-on-paper writing of other conductive materials.

metallic inks are frequently used in printers for the fabrication of electronic devices, but the handheld pen lowers the cost, learning curve, portability, and rapidity of the approach. in the past, conductive silver pens have been used for repairing circuitry, but the new pen marks the first design intended to actually create durable conductive wiring.

video demo of the conductive silver-ink pen, including at 1:00 a side-by-side comparison of existing silver ink pens and this model

the rollerball pen permits circuits to be hand-drawn onto paper, wood, or other surfaces

a sketch of the painting ‘sae-han-do’ by jung hee kim, drawn in the conductive ink so as to power the LED mounted in the paper atop the images of the house

co-authors of the project, published as ‘pen-on-paper flexible electronics‘ in the journal of advanced materials, include graduate student analisa russo and postdocs bok yeop ahn, jacob adams, and eric duoss.

  • Great 🙂 A brilliant tool for prototyping and quick electronics experiments. Where can we buy these pencils?!

    Thijs Roumen says:
  • There is already a silver-based ink, for some time.
    That metieran within a pen, a matter of time.

    Turriano says:

have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

comments policy
designboom's comment policy guidelines
generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

- please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
- please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
- please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
- please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
- please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
(there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
the best 100-200 entries too.)

a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

technology news

keep up with our daily and weekly stories
502,538 subscribers
- see sample
- see sample