Voltera launches ‘world’s first printer’ for soft, stretchable electronics

VolteraNOVA is a new platform that allows you to print flexible hybrid electronic devices. This was announced by, a world leader in printed electronics technology.

NOVA uses direct-write technology to print circuits onto soft, stretchable, and conformable surfaces.

“This first-of-its-kind benchtop machine unlocks rapid flexible hybrid electronics prototyping and the ability to experiment with custom inks and a wide variety of substrates,” said Alroy Almeida, CEO and co-founder of Voltera. “NOVA is already being used to innovate how humankind explores deep space, to develop printed, on-skin sensors for medical imaging, and to prototype clothing that can measure your heart rate yet can go through the gentle cycle in your washing machine.”

NOVA’s precision extrusion technology can help conduct research and develop “products of the future”, by enabling rapid benchtop iteration according to Voltera, leading to more reliable results, faster development times, and lower costs.

“With NOVA, we can make devices and align them to sub 10-micron precision, which is essential to everything that we do,” said Alex Kashkin, Graduate Researcher, Velasquez Group at MIT. “If we have a 20-micron deviation, our devices explode. We need a lot more precision. This is why we need tuned materials. NOVA allows us to do both.

Kashkin is using NOVA for the development of printed electron sources to neutralise ionic thruster plumes at low-earth orbit. Voltera claims that NOVA bridges the gap between what researchers can do and their wishes.

“I think where this sort of technology, NOVA, will shine is in applications that were not possible before. You shouldn’t fight or try to compete with silicon chips or PCBs. You should try to make something that’s impossible with those technologies,” said Gerd Grau, Director of the Electronics Additive Manufacturing lab at York University, who is using NOVA in the development of on-skin biomedical tattoo electrodes.

Voltera claims that subtractive techniques are good for traditional electronics. However, flexible electronics means the future is additive. NOVA, a direct-write digital printer, allows for innovation without the need to use the tools and high cost associated with screen printing.

NOVA is faster than inkjet and allows for more design iterations. Voltera says that NOVA is more environmentally friendly because it produces less waste and is less susceptible to material contamination. They also have the ability to print circuits using eco-friendly materials like biodegradable substrates.

The NOVA comes with a Smart Dispenser cartridge that can be filled with any material and then calibrated using semi-automatic calibration to start printing in minutes, according to the company. The vision system includes AR print overlay and camera-based alignment. The system can also be equipped with two quick-swap modular ports, drop in fixturing, as well as optional ethernet and USB connectivity.

Voltera launched its first printer, the V-One, in 2015, after a successful Kickstarter campaign. 

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