Questions for “Ordinary paper turns into flexible human-powered keypad”

If you had a device made out of the new electronic paper, you could fold it up, stick it in your pocket, and take it to the beach. It resists sand and water and it’s “cheap and easy to replace,” says Sala de Medeiros.

Purdue University

To accompany “Ordinary paper turns into flexible human-powered keypad


Before Reading:

1. What would be an advantage to paper-based electronics? What might be some disadvantages?

2. If you could have three super-cheap, super-lightweight electronic devices, what would you choose? Explain your selections.

During Reading:

1.  The new device uses no batteries. Why?

2.  What is Teflon? Why was a related chemical chosen for use in the new devices?

3.  What’s the electronic circuitry made from in the new devices? How were they attached to the devices?

4.  What is triboelectricity? What is an example people encounter in their ordinary lives?

5.  What’s the voltage produced in the new devices? How useful is that amount?

6.  What are some futuristic uses for the new technology, as mentioned in the story?

After Reading:

1.  Read up on perfluorinated chemicals. Some of the most widely used ones pollute the environment and may last a long time, even thousands of years. Many manufacturers argue that they can use these chemicals safely. Environmental scientists have asked that these chemicals be used judiciously (as only where they are the very best use to solve a very important need). From what you learn, does the use of such chemicals for the new devices sound like a good application for these chemicals? Explain your reasoning.

2.  If you could design a new paper-based electronic device, what would it be? Explain why you chose that one.