25 July 2009
Never forget an appointment!
Time Sensitive Paper
The paper with feeling
Keep track of valuable objects like phones, books etc.
Prototype sticky note - Royal Mail postage stamp to show scale of microcontroller, battery and sensors
Ixp-Note is a new form of intelligent sticky note that allows the user to create time sensitive paper.
Tiime and date is selected via a novel paper touch sensitive sensesurface. The card will light up and ring at the chosen time.
A novel design of power management which works like the human heart is used to achieve very low power.
The Ixp-Note sensing platform starts at coin size and can be attached to paper surfaces and designed to be used like normal sticky notes and also to be re-usable. They were originally designed for people with memory loss, e.g. Alzheimer's, but can be used all around the home and office. Ixp-notes have applications with appointment cards, e.g. dentist, doctor , car services. They are useful as reminder stickers in the home for taking medicines, childcare or feeding pets. Card can be erased and rewritten with new messages.
Battery life approx 1 year, ixpnote platform inc hardware and firmware cost around $1. Low cost achieved due to novel connection technology. This replaces a conventional printed circuit board (PCB) and costs < 1 cent per card.
Image of working prototype ixp-note, entire protoype circuit is 1.2mm thin, similar to credit card.
this includes computer, clock, battery, led piezo
The card is glossy and attractive, flexible, waterproof, washable, pet proof, and heat resistant
The computer is normally hidden by graphic design but shown here to illustrate it working
Finding lost property, examples are mobile phones, MP3 players, cameras, passports, spectacles, books that are easily lost. An active label Ixp-note on a mobile phone can detect via it's sensors (e.g. touch, motion , temperature and light) that a phone has not been picked up after a certain time, e.g. 24 hours. Card will only then then start to ring to attract attention. On picking up the phone, sound automatically stops and is reset for another 24 hours. A choice of 20 synthesised ringtones are provide as audio reminders. A paperclip sensor allows easy attachment and removal to books, papers, etc.
3D Cad design of ixp-note manufactured by 3D printer. It is a book clip with a leather finish.
Ixp-note can also be used for business cards - give your card to a contact asking them to contact you in a week. It might end up at bottom of her handbag but will ring after a week.
Prototype illuminated ixp-note
* special vacuum mount provides connections to components and allow thin robust paper.
* The SenseSurface paper is touch sensitive and can detect taps of varying times, e.g. double click and also different finger pressures. Gestures strokes on paper can also be detected, e.g. for canceling alarm. Touch sensitive sensors are achieved by piezo speaker matrix inside card to detect finger and tap intentions. These piezos also multiplexed for audio output and so allow zero additional cost sensing. The switch provides tactile feedback, after switch press is recognised the piezo time multiplexes back into audio out mode and gives a vibrate sense to feel.
* a novel paper loudspeaker allows a loud sound to be created. A range of synthesised sounds have been tested to identify objects, e.g. cell phone ring, chimes, bells. Synthesised ringtones use less memory than sampled sounds and so a smaller package and lower cost.
Current card thickness is limited by 3V lithium coin cell and is approx 2mm. The card will switch off when current event has alarmed and switched off but can be reset to use again.
* The microcontroller is an 8 pin Microchip PIC , 16F683 as here. It is approx 4 mm square, 3.5kbyte ram, analog inputs, software serial port, built in clocks and uses 2 Volt Nanowatt technology from Microchip. Also provided 256 bytes of EEPROM for data logging, e.g. temperature every hour for 10 days.
* The prototype card is 2mm thin but current technology allows a card down to 1.6 mm.
PRINTED PAPER ELECTRONICS
The Ixp-note allows a graphic design to be created and printed on an ordinary printer and physical controls such as switches, dials ,lights, touch sensors, loudspeakers etc to be added. One application could be a printed alarm clock. These components, together with the FLASH programmed computer are processed in an extrusion machine and a sheet of paper with tactile bumps for the controls is produced. Other sensors can be added such as temperature and acceleration. The cost is much lower than a conventional printed circuit board (<1 cent) and finished artifact made in seconds rather than days.
July 2009 prototype working microcontroller hardware and software.
Evaluating manufacturing process for sample cards.
The team, many thanks to all our contributors for applications, Cambridge and other friends, and to current and ex Microsoft Research colleagues.
The next version of Ixp-note will allow the time and date of a future event can also be selected using a PC Calendar e.g. Microsoft Outlook, Apple Ical or Google Calendar. A usb interface allows programming of card.
Project research and development financed by East of England Development Agency, EEDA.
Previous similar work done by Lyndsay Williams at Microsoft Research : Intelligent Sticky Notes
Early prototype Image by Louise Williams
Older version of Ixp-note (2008) in the news