So long, breadboard: Draw circuits instantly with the Circuit Scribe pen

The process of learning about electronic circuits today is pretty low-tech. You are sitting in a high school physics classroom. The teacher demonstrates a circuit at the front of the room while you draw a rough sketch and attempt to describe in words why connecting this thingy with that other thingy makes the light thingy light up.

The Circuit Scribe wants to make learning about and creating circuits much, much easier. A gel pen filled with conductive ink, the Circuit Scribe lets you draw circuits that dry instantly, meaning you could create a working circuit among the notes in your notebook.

Circuit Scribe

A Circuit Scribe campaign went live today on Kickstarter, where its creators are asking for $85,000. The campaign had raised just more than $15,000 at the time this post was published. Backers can get their hands on the pen for $20 or spring for a more advanced kit for up to $100. Everything will supposedly ship in June 2014.

The team behind Circuit Scribe wants to use the money to scale up production of the pen. Right now, they empty Gelly Roll pens (yes, like those sparkly ones you used in high school) and then carefully refill them with their conductive silver ink.

If you tended to fall asleep in that physics class, a circuit is a loop through which an electric current can pass. You use the Circuit Scribe to draw that physical loop. You can pair it with accessories like batteries, LEDs and sensors to give it different functions. It can also be paired with platforms like Arduino and Raspberry Pi for added functionality.

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The pens can replace just about any existing circuit technology–from breadboards to copper tape. It can be used to create electronic bracelets, add functionality to pictures and sculpture, make game controllers and more.

Circuit Scribe is not the first conductive ink pen, but its creators say its ink dries instantly while others smudge. It coincides with a wave of circuit printers that print on paper, one of which has already hit Kickstarter.