Let's face it, printed electronics hasn't turned out the way we all hoped. Just a few years ago the market was talking itself into a frenzy--sharing fantasies of those majestic R2R fabs churning out organic RFID tags and display backplanes with the speed of the New York Times coming off the presses. Seems rather silly in retrospect.

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Over the past two decades, more accurate, convenient and earlier diagnoses have become a key strategy to reduce medical costs. This trend toward improved diagnostic technology will only grow in importance in the future as the first Baby Boomers turn seventy (in 2011) and as millions of people in less-developed nations begin to utilize more Western healthcare technology as their countries grow richer. In addition, healthcare experts have come to believe that diagnoses are most effectively delivered if they are made as close to the patient as possible. A quick read of a patient's condition at his or her bedside is preferred over a test sent to a lab that may take critical hours or days to interpret.

All this implies that the market for point-of-care and home diagnostic products will expand over the next few years. In our recently published report on printed and large-area sensors, NanoMarkets examined how low-cost printing technologies can help diagnostics respond to the trends outlined above. The path toward this goal of printed sensors has already been forged in the area of self-testing for diabetics, where printed test strips have helped bring accurate digital diagnostics to the tens of millions of diabetics throughout the world.

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