FlexTech Alliance today announced two R&D awards to Soligie of Savage, Minn. The intent of the awards is to advance flexible, printed electronics manufacturing and obtain delivery of innovative project demonstrators in 2014.
The initial award is to a Soligie–led team comprising Boeing, American Semiconductor and Imprint Energy. The team will develop and demonstrate a sensor platform leveraging printed components and silicon-on-polymer technology to achieve a thin, conformable and lightweight form factor. The goal is commercializing a sensing system consisting of a power source, microcontroller, display, and wireless communication channel, as well as an interchangeable or disposable portion that can be chosen by the user based on the application. Commercial and military applications include vital sign monitoring, environmental monitoring, point-of-care diagnostics, structural health monitoring, and many others.
American Semiconductor provides the project’s silicon on polymer technology, while Imprint Energy sources the flexible battery. Boeing supplies environmental testing services to the prototype demonstrator. The U.S. Army Research Laboratory in Adelphi, MD is supporting this $335,000 project, which is 55% cost-shared by Soligie. Delivery of sample sensors is expected in about 12 months’ time.
The second R&D award to Soligie is supported by the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) of Tampa, FL and is directed towards the design, development and fabrication of scatterable media cards capable of delivering a 30 second audio message. These cards are based on printed and flexible electronics technologies where feasible, and conventional electronic devices where necessary, to achieve the desired functionality and form factor. The intent is to replicate a paper flyer now mass distributed by SOCOM forces, but add temporary electronic content. The budget for this project is $527,000 with Soligie providing a 53% cost share. Demos will be delivered to SOCOM in mid-2014.
Several aspects of this project are very innovative, for example, printed piezoelectric material is used for fabricating the transducer. This approach is compatible with a thin, flexible device, reduces assembly requirements, reduces the overall complexity and may lead to higher audio performance when compared to other transducer approaches. A flexible integrated circuit (IC) provided by American Semiconductor is incorporated into the scatterable media, which provides all the benefits of traditional silicon ICs in a thin, flexible form factor leading to a rugged solution that can withstand the forces encountered during printing or an eventual air drop.
“The mandate from FlexTech’s Governing Board and Technical Council in our 2013 RFP was to identify and support demonstrator projects which are complete in terms of a flexible substrate and key components such as power, a sensor and a display. These two Soligie-led projects meet the criteria and we look forward to obtaining product demos in 2014,” explained Michael Ciesinski, FlexTech Alliance CEO.
John Heitzinger, President of Soligie, stated that “Support of these projects by the FlexTech Alliance, ARL and SOCOM is vital to the development and commercialization of printed electronics technologies as these organizations provide clear performance targets for complex systems enabling companies in the space to focus efforts on meaningful prototypes. We look forward to delivering these novel devices and, with our ecosystem partners, demonstrating the value of printed and flexible electronics.”
About FlexTech Alliance
FlexTech Alliance, based in San Jose, Calif., is exclusively devoted to fostering the growth, profitability and success of the flexible, printed electronics and displays sectors. FlexTech coordinates collaboration between and among industry, academia, government, and research organizations and fosters development of the supply chain required to support a world-class, manufacturing capability. More information about FlexTech Alliance can be found at www.flextech.org.
Soligie (www.soligie.com) was founded in 2005 with the goal of filling a critical gap in the supply chain for printed electronics - manufacturing services. Soligie is a wholly owned subsidiary of Taylor Corporation, one of the largest privately held companies in the United States with more than 80 domestic and foreign subsidiaries. Soligie is made up of a team of electronics manufacturing experts with the ability to create a wide variety of printed and flexible electronics products. The company works with a variety of customers, from small start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, helping them move from product concept to volume manufacturing.
Source: FlexTech Alliance