A 3D circuit board that was printed with Functionalize’s filament.
It’s not easy to 3D print products that have electronic capabilities, but one Seattle inventor wants to help.
Functionalize on Monday launched a Kickstarter for what it calls the “world’s most electronically conductive 3D-printing filament.” The company, founded by former Microsoft fellow Michael Toutonghi, is raising $100,000 for material that allows anyone to print circuits, wires, sensors, power connectors and other electrical components inside 3D-printed products.
Functionalize founder Michael Toutonghi
Functionalize says the filament is 1,000 times more electrically conductive than what’s available today. The idea is to avoid separate manufacturing processes and make it easier for engineers to build electronic capabilities inside 3D-printed objects.
“Imagine a world where you can 3D print a drone, your next cell phone, an Internet of Things device, or the latest wearable electronics as a fully functional devices, complete with circuits and electrical components,” Toutonghi said in a statement. “That’s where we’re going, and our F-Electric filament is a major step forward in making this a reality. Using our nanomaterials and processes, we’ll have the chance to invent all sorts of new, functional materials that Makers need to launch their designs and prototypes.”
After leaving Microsoft in 2003, Toutonghi founded Vizrea, which became WebFives and was later acquired by Microsoft, bringing him back to the Redmond company. Toutonghi then spent four years at Microsoft from 2007-to-2011 as a veteran technical fellow. His claims to fame include leading development on the Windows 95 kernel team during his first stint at the company.
Prior to Functionalize, Toutonghi was CTO at Seattle startup Parallels and focused on the company’s Parallels Automation service, which hosting and cloud service providers use to provide cloud-based applications such as email, Internet phone calling and messaging to small and medium-sized businesses.
Then he launched Functionalize in 2013 after finding no printer that could print general circuits into plastic 3D-printed components. Learn more about the company here.