Crown Packaging Design Challenge awards creativity in packaging design with printed electronics

A smart sunscreen bottle using printed electronics technology

A recent industry-led design project by Brunel University London has produced a range of innovative packaging concepts with incorporated printed electronics elements. Crown Packaging, a leading manufacturer of metal packaging with headquarters in Philadelphia (PA), USA, has teamed up with The Centre for Process Innovation (CPI), a UK-based technology innovation centre, in order to set a challenge to 36 postgraduate design, innovation and branding students from Brunel University.

Working in cross-functional teams, the students were asked to look at how printed electronics could be incorporated into metal packaging to enhance the users’ experience. The students were required not just to consider the design and functionality of the products from a consumer point of view, but also to take into account commercial aspects like cost of manufacture and potential new revenue streams.

The winning concept from the Crown Packaging Design Challenge was the Smart Sunscreen, a sunscreen bottle that uses printed sensing and intelligence within the packaging to make the user feel more confident about sun protection. A sensor in the packaging measures the user’s skin type by analysing the amount of light reflected from the skin. The product’s suitability to the user’s skin type is indicated, guiding the correct SPF factor. The smart packaging also calculates the maximum “safe” amount of time in the sun by determining the user’s skin type and the strength of UV radiation. A timer on the bottle shows the amount of time left and alerts when the time is up.

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