IDTechEx Forecasts Multibillion Dollar Business in Electronics Reinvented as Material 

The new 130 page IDTechEx report, “Electronics Reshaped 2020-2040”, reveals how electrically smart, multifunctional materials are enabling the added-value materials industry to bypass the traditional electronic and electrical business.


Researchers are quoted as saying such things as,

“Customizable by squeezing it in the space available, can be bent stretched, twisted, and even shaped into complex structures, and all such deformations can be converted into electricity.”

“With this technique we print the sensor directly onto any material…. print the circuitry all in one fell swoop.”

“We can print these supercapacitors anywhere, on any substrate; they can easily be mounted on any surface just like a simple spray on the walls.”

“In just a few years, I would love to see this (electronic) sheet in furniture, toys, bags and clothes.”

“Transparent photovoltaic films for windows, walls, roof tiles and sensors.”

There are many other examples given, including work on three photovoltaic technologies intended to lead to photovoltaic paint. IDTechEx looked at 61 research programs. Most target apparel/textile and medical/healthcare industries then building/campus/home then many other sectors. One example is 2.2 GW of one type of solar being installed in 2020. This copper indium gallium diselenide is flexible, light-weight, good for building facades. Renovagen will even sell you 300kW reels of it to unroll like a carpet and use as a powerful, relocatable microgrid. Indeed, research groups have demonstrated batteries, sensors and triboelectric harvesting you cut to shape, and they still work.

User-customizable, fabric-like power sources can be cut, folded, or stretched without losing function. Electrical properties that are set by the user include voltage, brightness of light amount of electricity harvested by choosing multilayering or, with paint, thickness. Smart materials instead of cabling and components-in-a-box also can mean replace load-bearing parts, regular paint, building cladding and so on – two or three for the price, space, weight of one. That can justify premium pricing for materials manufacturers while the board stuffers and product integrators have their industrial supply chains bypassed because parts are being eliminated and you make electricity where you need it.

Value-added material companies see huge opportunities ahead for this electrically smart feedstock for the user’s 3D printers and the like, reels, and paint.  Where they sell electrical ink to the start of traditional electronics production lines, they will now sell cleverer inks direct to many other industries.

The report, “Electronics Reshaped 2020-2040”, has an executive summary and conclusions with new infograms explaining what it is, many examples and possibilities, winners and losers.  See 33 primary conclusions, a 2020-2040 commercialisation timeline and ten forecasts for addressable markets.  The introduction explains more, giving depth on conformal, stretchable and morphing electronics and lighting deposited as ink, including editable versions. Chapter 3 is on batteries cut to go anywhere and Chapter 4 does that for supercapacitors as material, including stretchable. Chapter 5 and 6 interprets research on photovoltaics as feedstock for the user, solar tape and structures, Chapter 7 on forthcoming thermoelectric, triboelectric and photovoltaic paint. Chapter 8 covers triboelectric nanogenerators as motion harvesting the user can customize. Chapter 9 reveals complete circuits in plastic sheet you cut to shape, fold, roll and electrically dedicate. Chapter 10 on papertronics takes you into the world of low-cost electronic packaging and biodegradability. Chapter 11 explains how everything from your computer case to your car body will made from load-bearing electrically smart material. Finally, Chapter 10 reveals where reconfigurable metamaterials and composites are headed in this context.

Replete with tables, graphs, infograms and research results, this unique report was researched by multi-lingual, PhD level analysts worldwide. They used global interviews, IDTechEx events and the constantly updated IDTechEx database of this and closely allied topics.

For more information on this report, please visit or for the full portfolio of related research available from IDTechEx please visit

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