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Circuit Scribe mixes art with electronics


December 1, 2013

Circuit Scribe uses silver ink to draw circuits

Circuit Scribe uses silver ink to draw circuits

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A new company called Electroninks is seeking to make DIY electronics child’s play ... literally. Circuit Scribe is a roller-ball pen filled with conductive silver ink that enables the creation of circuits by simply drawing them.

The circuit-drawing pen first caught our attention back in 2011 during its research phase at the University of Illinois’ research lab of Professor Jennifer Lewis. Now Lewis, along with reactive silver ink wizard Brett Walker, has co-founded a company called Electroninks to produce and market the Circuit Scribe.

The pair wants to offer a simpler, less messy and more fun alternative to breadboards used to build circuits. All that is required is a coin battery, paper clip, and LED. By using the pen to draw lines with the silver ink, anyone can create functioning circuits. The more technically-minded can resort to a larger number of components to make more complex circuits. Electroninks says Circuit Scribe is compatible with several electronic platforms such as the open source Arduino and the invention kit Makey Makey.

Lewis and Walker are raising funds for Circuit Scribe via Kickstarter. To that end, they have developed a series of electronic components for backers to have fun with. The project has already surpassed its funding goal by a long margin and a US manufacturer has been drafted in to help bring the pen to market. Funding options range from a $20 pledge for a pen and a LED component (plus $10 for shipping to Canada and $15 elsewhere) and $500 for a custom designed unit.

The video below shows how Circuit Scribe works.

Source: Kickstarter/Electroninks

About the Author
Antonio Pasolini Brazilian-Italian Antonio Pasolini graduated in journalism in Brazil before heading out to London for an MA in film and television studies. He fell in love with the city and spent 13 years there as a film reviewer before settling back in Brazil. Antonio's passion for green issues - and the outdoors - eventually got the best of him and since 2007 he's been writing about alternative energy, sustainability and new technology. All articles by Antonio Pasolini

Even though you may save money on a breadboard or circuit board, you now need an expensive component mounting platform for each component. The overall cost will probably be higher than using a breadboard. In addition, any movement to the circuit could jar the components lose from their connections.


I think this is a great idea! For its aim of inspiring curiosity about circuits, and making it fun and easy to build them I'd say they've nailed it. I imagine it'll be possible to make some incredibly inventive art with this too.


They need to also do a glue-pen, so we can "solder" (glue) surface-mount things right into our drawings...


Can I copper plate this circuit for higher conductivity, durability?

Bruce Miller
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