Smart clingfilm will stop shoppers getting lost in the supermarket

In future smartphones could be able to monitor breath and warn of illnessCredit:Tom Odulate  Getty Creative In future smartphones could be able to monitor breath and warn of illness Smart cling-film which can wrap around products and communicate with mobile phones could help shoppers avoid getting lost in the supermarket.The British semiconductor and software design company Arm is working with Cambridge-based PragmatIC to develop ultra-thin electronics which can be printed on super flexible plastic.Mike Muller, Chief Technology Officer, and one of the founders of Arm, told The Telegraph it would allow electronics to be placed on virtually any surface within a decade.Not only could the smart-wrap carry information about the product and its location, but it could follow its complete life-cycle from factory to shop floor, to ensure its authenticity.“We’re doing some research about how do you print transistors on plastic, cling-film,” he said.“It’s really thin, really flexible, it’s the sort of thing your would put around packaging of a bottle, or covering a screen entirely in plastic.“At the moment it’s 1960s early-70s technology so the transistors are big and slow but in 10 years you will be able to put electronic and computing in any surface. It will allow you to put electronics in a lot more products.“At the trivial end it’s how do I make my packaging label flash a few lights and entice you to buy me, or on on a packet of drugs that need to be kept below 20C, and so I can do the tracking of the lifecycle of that product so when I get it I know it hasn’t been left out in the Sun.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Mr Muller said it would allow a shopper to walk into a supermarket looking for items and have them contact your phone directly, to avoid searching shelves.   “Everything is hackable if you put enough time and effort into it you can break into any house, bank, vault or whatever. It’s always going to be be an evolving fight.” “It could be useful from commercialisation and marketing, to lifesaving healthcare,” he added.“You could use it in a plaster that monitors wound healing.”PragmatIC already produces smart packaging that allows consumers to use their smartphones to access personal content, promotional offers or product information.Mr Muller also said that in the future phones could be able to monitor your breath to detect health changes such as Parkinson’s disease, lung cancer, which express molecules in the body which can be detected with sensors.“You can see how in the future you’re talking on your mobile phone, and it suddenly says, ‘oh by the way, I think you should see your doctor’,” he said.“With lung cancer early diagnosis is one of the best predictors of survival so if you can catch it early you can do something.“I think in the future there will be more and more sensors on phones, sniffing your breath  sensing your mood.”However he warned that the more electronics were embedded into devices, the greater the risk of hacking.“I think everyone should be concerned,” he said. “How do you build devices which are harder to attack. And how do you build devices that once they have been attacked you can regain control of them.

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