Plastics have long formed the skeletons and skin of products, whereas silicon has supplied the brains. With the advent of polymer and crystalline organic electronics, plastics will make up the brains as well as the brawn.
Plastic chips may never be as fast or as miniaturized as silicon chips, but their production by convenient techniques, including ink-jet printing, promises extremely cheap devices that could become ubiquitous in consumer products and household appliances. Potential uses include information displays for appliances and computers, electronic paper, radio frequency identification tags, wearable electronics, chemical sensors and pressure-sensitive skin for robots.
A conducting plastic has been used to create a new memory technology with the potential to store a megabit of data in a millimeter-square device - 10 times denser than current magnetic memories. The device should also be cheap and fast, but cannot be rewritten, so would only be suitable for permanent storage.