Touchless interface for printed electronics

At tno, Integration Technologies for Flexible Systems

Your Background

You are a Bachelor/Master student with affinity to electronics, embedded programming and novel technologies with the following background:

A       Electrical Engineering

B       Applied Physics


Your Skills

In the 'Hybrid Printed Electronics program, Holst Centre and its partners are investigating technologies, materials and processes for the integration of traditional electronic components into flexible and stretchable systems with printed circuitry.


Hybrid printed electronics opens up new possibilities in the field of human-machine interfaces. Since the circuitry can actually be printed on the front panel of a device, this eliminates the necessity of a separate PCB. By adding functionality on the surface itself, new kinds of sensors can be developed to interact with a device. The main goal of these assignments is to explore new interfaces that can be used with Holst Centre's printed electronic technology, and where possible with our thermoforming technology to realize 3D structured circuity.


Project Description


The internship will consist of the development, making and testing of one or multiple of the following interfaces with hybrid printed electronics:


Development of a touchless interface, to detect the presence and position of a hand by using EM fields. The interface may be based on an existing PCB development kit and transfer this to printed electronic circuitry. The intern needs to research what materials and circuitry is necessary to realize this, make a circuitry design and finally develop a functional prototype.


Development of a touchless interface, to detect the position of a hand or finger with a to be designed optical sensor system, making use of the possibilities of our printing and thermoforming technology in order to create 3D circuitry. The idea is to use infrared LEDs and photodetectors in a thermo-formed edge. Reading out multiple photodetectors should give an indication on the position of a finger in a designated area. Test setups need to be created to proof the concept and finally a functional prototype interface needs to be made.


Development of a haptic feedback interface with piezoelectric components or piezoelectric inks in combination with a capacitive touch. Touch interfaces are becoming more and more common and are finding their way into various new markets. However, a user still likes to receive feedback when they active a capacitive button. With haptic feedback devices we can simulate the effect of a button press without an actual mechanical switch.

The assignment would be to investigate witch components or inks would be suitable for such and interface and design and build a prototype of such an interface with driving electronics.


The topic of the internship will be embedded in the ongoing research topics that are currently running in the 'Hybrid Printed' program. The student will become part of the team that is responsible for the development of demonstrators within this program and will be included in bi-weekly technical meetings.




Your Tasks

  • Investigate to feasibility of the proposed interface and make a plan to
    realize a functional proof-of-concept demonstrator
  • Design and build a demonstrator showing the new interface concept
  • Write a report describing the technology used, design choices, and final results



For all inquiries, please contact:

For more information contact ing. Jeroen Schram  / Mail:


Apply now