Success Stories

Functional Printing Success Story

A Case Study of the February 2011 Canvas Magazine

Creating An Interactive Electrochromic Magazine Cover

Si-Cal worked closely with Canvas trade magazine to create the world’s first entirely printed, interactive, electronic magazine cover. Our solution to the challenge was to produce a cover using a printed electrochromic carrier sheet tipped to the paper cover. The design, prototyping, & project management on this was performed by faculty and students at California State Polytechnic University. The project was sponsored by Ricoh and produced with the help of ten companies.

How was it done?

Because of the unique condition in which a magazine is delivered and used, the specifications set for the project required careful selection of the conductive ink and power source.

The requirements for ink selection were:

1. Must be very power efficient
2. Must utlizes a proven system
3. Supplier must be based in North America
4. Must demonstrate compelling technology and provide great visual impact to achieve project/marketing goals

To meet these goals the Ntera Nanochromic ink system was selected.

Selection of a power source was also challenging because of the sometimes rough treatment that a mail-delivered item recieves. The requirements here included:

1. Must deliver sufficient peak power of 1.5 V with a printed battery
2. Must utlizes a proven system
3. Supplier must be based in North America
4. Must deliver sufficient power to achieve project/marketing goals

The Blue Spark battery was selected as a good fit to requirements.

Project Achievements

1. Everything is printed!
2. The new approach made the magazine cover interactive, drawing attention and increasing interest.
3. There was no lengthy development time or risks. It was done in a practical and viable way that can be implement now.
4. A solution was created using materials available now.
5. Electrochromism is a reflective technology, not an emissive technology.
6. The power solution delivered high efficiency.
7. The cover doesn’t light up like emissive ELs

Management at Canvas magazine was very pleased with the result, saying:

“We received a great response from our readers on the new cover.  It couldn’t have happened without Si-Cal’s expertise,  they turned an idea into a real working solution and were great to work with.”

See the magazine cover at:

Learn how the cover was designed and made at:

Call Si-Cal when you need consistently high performing Functional Electronics.