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Nov 25, 2013 08:21 AM EST

Students working on their physics project involving circuit designs and diagrams can now forget the wires and breadboards and use a 'pen' instead!

Scientists at the University of Illinois have created a conductive, non-toxic, water-based, silver ink for use in rollerball pens that allow students to draw working circuits instantly on an ordinary piece of paper. The rollerball pen, 'Circuit Scribe' helps STEM Educators, artists and students create conductive circuits easily, thus eliminating the need for breadboards or printed circuits, The Verge reports.  

The Circuit Scribe is different from other conductive pens and paints that already exist in the market. The pen includes a biro-style rollerball tip instead of a squeezable tube and nozzle. Filled with conductive silver ink, the Circuit Scribe helps draw smooth, fine, accurate, fast-drying lines, which is ink-fuss free and doesn't require squeezing, shaking or drying, CNET reports.

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With just the pen and few other materials including a coin, batteries, paper clip, and LED, students can build simple circuits and switches. With the addition of few other materials, they can scribble complex circuits on their notebooks to prototype instantly.

Students can use Circuit Scribe with Arduino, Makey Makey, and many other electronic platforms.

Although the pen has been introduced predominantly for educational purposes - experimenting, designing, prototyping- it can also be employed in DIY projects.

A sealed pen has a shelf life of about a year and when opened, it will function smoothly for about six months before starting to dry out a little. The silver ink in the pen can be used to draw about 60 to 80 metres of lines.

While the single pen and an LED component would cost $20, there are several kits with a bunch of simple electronic components that are being offered along with the Circuit Scribe at various prices. For $30, a component kit including LEDs, batteries, a battery connector, a BJT NPN transistor, a slide switch, jumper stickers, a 9V battery connector, five resistors, two capacitors and a magnetic switch are offered. Check out the different packages at Kickstarter.

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