Paper as Power, Sensor, and Interface

This project was developed for Toyoshima , as a collaboration between Design Lab and Yagi Lab. The project development process was entirely experiment driven and the final proposal is the result of cross-disciplinary exploration, discussions, and ideation.

このプロジェクトは、豊島ライフスタイル寄付研究部門のためにDLX Design Labと八木研究室が共同で開発したものです。プロジェクトの開発プロセスはすべて実験に基づいて行われ、最終的な提案は学際的な探求、議論、アイデアの結果です。


Probes is an exploration of paper batteries developed by Yagi Lab, as a source of power for disposable diagnostic devices.

The project proposes an alternative to existing diagnostic technologies by combining a paper battery, a sensor, and a simple indicator - all made from disposable materials. These components were used to conceive a low-power, single use diagnostic tool, which would make testing devices more accessible and more sustainable.

The initial idea was create a new kind of battery that would not be limited by any form or size. The development process led the team to produce a paintable battery, which could be applied to flexible materials such as paper. Different types of battery electrodes were tested, including zinc, aluminum, and Prussian blue analogs. The team discovered that one key application area for these batteries could be disposable diagnostics, since the batteries had a unique activation process after which they could no longer produce power. Since a range of batteries were explored throughout the project with different properties and power outputs, the resulting paper diagnostic tools were designed to be versatile and adaptable to many different situations. They include portable sensor tools for nutritional testing, passive sensors for environmental testing, and active diagnostics for medical testing.



The project was made possible through an experiment driven process with Yagi Lab consisting of about 70 different experiments conducted with researchers of both labs. The proof of concept was a test rig indicating the properties of paper batteries powering an LED. This set up showed the potential of paper-based batteries to be used in conjunction with low-power commercial electronics.