Disposable Electronics in Wired Magazine28 Dec 2013
What can we build with disposable electronics? An ad in the January 2014 issue of Wired Magazine lets the reader change the color of a Moto X smartphone by pressing a colored circle on the page. This 20-second video shows the ad in operation followed by a glimpse of the inner workings.
Taking the ad apart required one simple tool, a pair of scissors. Here’s what’s inside:
- Four 3-volt CR2025 lithium coin batteries. This kind of battery is commonly used to power the remote key fob for an automobile. Walgreens sells these batteries.
- One tiny circuit board, about 1-inch square. I see nine resistors, four capacitors, one diode, and one application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC). The designation
C0010-V1is printed on the board. Nothing shows the board’s manufacturer.
- Eleven switches in one switch assembly. The switches are connected to the circuit board via seven leads.
- Three LEDs, pointed to shine light on a 3.5” x 6.5” reflecting panel.
This assembly is more expensive than a typical full-page ad, but probably not by much. Mildly amusing to play with, and fun to take apart. Yes, the advertisers succeded in grabbing my attention.
A famous ad expert once remarked, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted. The trouble is I don’t know which half.” Is the Moto X ad useful or wasted?
An observation: I played with this paper gadget for a good ten minutes and I took the thing apart before I considered reading the ad copy. Maybe the color change is too distracting for the ad to be effective? Maybe the temptation to disassemble the ad is too distracting, too.
On the other hand, I’m still talking about the ad. And blogging about it. Ultimate test: How will an ad like this influence buying behavior?
Beyond advertising, what else can we do with disposable electronics?