Once upon a time the chips were in the bag, or in the computer or in the casino, as the case may be. And perhaps there is an argument for not giving the same name to such a diverse range of products, but that’s for another day. Latest news from the world of packaging says that your chip bag may soon contain chips in the bag and chips on the bag. What that, you say? Well, the chips in the bag are of the edible kind, but the chips on the bag are of the computer kind. The connected chip bag could be one of the results of merging Thin Film technology with packaging.
The Bemis Company, a manufacturer and supplier of packaging materials signed an agreement with Thin Film Electronics, a company in Norway that developed technology where circuitry can be embedded into rolls of plastic. As a result of this, the packaging industry will now be able to make intelligent packages. Perhaps in the future a customer can tell where a bag of chips originated or how long it’s been on the shelf, and whether or not it was kept at optimal temperatures. Perhaps there will also be environmental impact information and other guilt inducing information.
For now the technology for connected packaging is just in its infancy so discussions about where it’s going are mostly speculation. But if the idea takes off it could extend to all packaged goods beyond the idea of connected bananas and the freshness of chips and into just about everything in a package. Of course once we discard the packaging that could unleash an entirely different set of issues. Once the landfills can talk who knows what they’ll say.