After many hours debugging a dysfunctional tangle of wires, we thought there had to be a faster and neater way to prototype circuits. There is. Our Bi-layer Circuit Trace (BCT) technology would allow for rapid electronics prototyping, on many substrates (including paper, cloth, vinyl, and on top of circuit boards).
The BCT Applicator consists of two spools and functions much like a correction-tape (white-out) roller. The BCT material would be on the storage spool and applied to the substrate from the applicator tip via a conveyor belt (Fig. 1). The conveyor belt is re-spooled on the waste spool. This conveyor action enables quick and precise circuit tracings that are simply drawn onto substrates.
Bi-layer circuit traces consist of a conductive bottom layer with conductive adhesive (Fig. 2). This layer forms the electrical connection between the electronic components components and serves as circuit traces. The top layer consists of an insulating material (like Teflon tape) that can be easily scratched off. This allows circuit traces to overlap without making unwanted connections between the traces, while desired connections are achieved by simply scratching off the upper insulation layer.
Components are easy to attach. The leads are taped onto the substrate with BCT, making the electrical connection and fixating the component in one step (Fig 3). Alternatively, components can be stabbed through the BCT to form connections.
These connections and traces are flexible. On substrates like paper, circuits can bend. On malfunctioning printed circuits boards, BCT is a simple way to rework connections. Neat prototypes are created by quickly drawing traces and placing components.
BCT makes prototyping easy. By spending less time with the hassle and mess of creating and debugging circuits, people have the ability to design more and create more. The implications of this ability are endless: BCT gives people in the maker movement greater flexibility and a lower barrier to entry for electronics. BCT gives companies the power to make inexpensive, rapid prototypes. BCT delivers the power to easily rework printed circuit boards. BCT means power.