SAN JOSE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--NextFlex®, America’s Flexible Hybrid Electronics (FHE) Manufacturing Institute, today released Project Call 4.0 (PC 4.0) — the latest call for proposals to fund projects that seek to further the development and adoption of FHE. Response to the first three project calls was staggering, with 178 initial proposals received resulting in over $59M in investment. The total project value is expected to exceed $10 million for PC 4.0. (Project value/investment figures include cost-sharing.)
Project Call 4.0’s very diverse scope of needs represents technology and capability gaps that have been determined by the community over a wide range of application areas — from digital health to commercial aviation to national security needs. These areas cover the spectrum from encapsulation technologies for wearables, high performance and high layer count FHE, to 3-dimensional electronic design software, solutions for challenges in e-textiles, biochemical monitoring platforms and lightweight electronics for drones and UAVs.
“NextFlex’s Project Call process has proven to be extremely successful,” said Dr. Malcolm J. Thompson, executive director of NextFlex. “We continuously tackle member-identified FHE manufacturing challenges, and with 31 projects already underway from three previous project calls, we expect this to garner even more interest from the FHE community. Topics in Project Call 4.0 build upon successful developments and learning from our previous project calls.”
Project proposals should tackle these industry-driven problems and offer solutions that include a plan for transitioning projects to the U.S. industrial manufacturing base. The project proposals should focus on the following manufacturing thrust areas (MTA):
- FHE device encapsulation
- High layer count FHE processing with IC interface demonstration
- Evaluation and development of connectors for FHE devices and e-textiles
- Development of a carrier system appropriate for sheet-to-sheet FHE manufacturing
- Advanced 3D electrical design software
- Flexible battery integration and reference designs
To demonstrate these manufacturing capabilities, project proposals can focus on the following:
- Lightweight flexible electronics platform for UAVs and drones
- Large-area sensor systems for structural health monitoring
- Minimally invasive wearable flexible devices for monitoring of fluid-based biomarkers
More information on NextFlex’s PC 4.0, including proposal submission instructions, can be found here. Parties interested in submitting a proposal are strongly encouraged to register for the NextFlex PC 4.0 Webinar, to be held on Tuesday, August 7, 2018, at 11 a.m. PDT/2 p.m. EDT. The webinar will provide an overview of the Project Call and will outline the timeline for acceptance of pre-proposals.
NextFlex ®, America’s Flexible Hybrid Electronics Manufacturing Institute, is a leading force in the Manufacturing USA network of Institutes. Formed through a cooperative agreement between the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and FlexTech Alliance, NextFlex is a consortium of companies, academic institutions, non-profits and state, local and federal governments with a shared goal of advancing U.S. manufacturing of FHE. Since its formation in 2015, NextFlex’s elite team of thought leaders, educators, problem solvers and manufacturers have come together to collectively facilitate innovation, narrow the manufacturing workforce gap and promote sustainable manufacturing ecosystems. For more information, visit www.nextflex.us and follow NextFlex on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
About Flexible Hybrid Electronics (FHE)
FHE gives everyday products the power of silicon ICs by combining them with new and unique printing processes and new materials. The result: lightweight, low-cost, flexible, conformable, stretchable and highly efficient smart products with innumerable uses for consumer, commercial and military applications.