The range of applications for 3D printing are well known, as the technology is already used creatively in foods, metals, ceramics, and even organ transplant surgeries. Even so, we’ve only begun to utilize the full capabilities of 3D printing. So what’s next? A startup company called Rohinni says, “We print light.”
A Paper-Thin LED Light
Rohinni has invented an LED light product aptly named LightPaper. It is paper-thin and can be used to print a light-up version of, well, just about anything. LightPaper is made with a mixture of ink and extremely small LEDs applied to a conductive surface and then sealed between two other thin layers. Heard of the new Oreo Thins? Well, think thinner. Within LightPaper, there are thousands of tiny diodes; each one is nearly the size of a human red blood cell and lights up when a current is run through them.
3D-Printed Light Could Change Everything
A paper-thin LED surface like LightPaper has many unique qualities. First off, it needs no batteries. Secondly, it can be made into any shape desired by designers—much like regular paper, we can mold it into whatever we want. Another couple of LightPaper perks is that it is considered eco-friendly and that it will [probably] be cheap to manufacture. I have to admit, this whole thing is pretty darn cool—I mean, imagine what we could do with 3D light-paper printers at home! (Maybe we could build the coolest collection of paper airplanes ever, that’s what.)
But I digress. Paper-thin lighting could someday replace (or enhance) fine art, television screens, window tinting, and logos on mobile devices. It may even eliminate lighting fixtures, lamps, and light bulbs—we could simply lay strips of LED paper above our couches or on our ceilings to light up our rooms. LightPaper could change how we read, and write, and advertise, and take pictures, and decorate, and customize cars, and . . . okay, okay, I’ll stop here, but the point is, the potential here is tremendous.
Using LightPaper Technology
Some speculate that 3D-printed light paper could be available to consumers by the end of 2015. Rohinni has said they plan to corner the commercial and industrial markets before moving elsewhere. Given LED paper’s super-lightweight quality, I would anticipate first seeing the technology applied to TVs, mobile devices, and printed media before anything else.
According to one marketing executive at Rohinni, “Anywhere there is a light, this could replace that.” He followed up with: “Everything the light light touches is our kingdom.” (Okay, that one was from The Lion King, but it’s still pretty applicable).
If they can pull this off, Rohinni and LED paper can really change the lighting industry. As technology improves, companies like Rohinni will hopefully find ways to get their paper into homes, supermarkets, and—as they mentioned—anywhere there is light.
Would you use LightPaper in your home? Where would you put it? Share some ideas with me below (I might throw a few your way, too)!