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TMCNet:  Pioneers Of Flexible Hybrid Electronics Converge At NextFlex Innovation Day To Showcase Latest Advances That Will Transform Our Everyday Lives

[September 20, 2017]

Pioneers Of Flexible Hybrid Electronics Converge At NextFlex Innovation Day To Showcase Latest Advances That Will Transform Our Everyday Lives

SAN JOSE, Calif., Sept. 20, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- NextFlex will once again open the doors to its manufacturing facility in San Jose for its second annual Innovation Day on Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017.  Since its inception in 2015 – when the U.S. Dept. of Defense announced a $75-million award to advance the country's manufacturing ecosystem and workforce for flexible hybrid electronics (FHE) – NextFlex has issued three project calls aimed at bringing FHE solutions to market for a staggering $45 million (including cost-share). This week, NextFlex brings together more than 50 companies, government agencies and universities to demonstrate the technology advances these investments have yielded, as well as other efforts underway in the burgeoning FHE industry. 

GE Global Research, wearable bio-fluid monitoring system for continuous measurement of hydration on athletes and soldiers,
Photo by GE Global Research

FHE promises to transform powerful, yet traditionally bulky, electronics into formats that bend, stretch, fold, and conform to the contours of our world, from human bodies to vehicles, buildings, and many other objects. The next generation of electronics will produce smarter and lighter consumer wearables; health monitoring devices, including intelligent patches and bandages for medical treatments; structural monitoring to protect and optimize buildings, vehicles, bridges, and more; and "soft" robotics, including advanced flexible electronics for prosthetics that can assist, restore, or enhance physical capabilities.

As NextFlex Executive Director Malcolm Thompson noted, no other event can provide such a compelling look at the future of FHE. "Consumer and military applications for FHE devices abound – in turn, providing significant economic and job growth opportunities for U.S. companies, starting with increased demand for materials to produce key FHE components, such as sensors, interconnect, and ICs, and flexible batteries," said Dr. Thompson. "Early adopters of these technologies will be the medical and healthcare communities, as well as such mainstay industries as automotive, aerospace, retail and packaging. FHE devices will also likely impact disruptive technologies including wearable electronics and the IoT. NextFlex is facilitating collaboration, innovation and transformation, illustrated by this unparalleled gathering of companies, academic and nonprofit institutions, and government agencies – all of whom are focused on the single goal of creating a robust FHE manufacturing infrastructure, right here in the U.S."

Open to accredited media, the event will feature some of the latest FHE technology currently being developed for commercial (health/wellness, food, sports, agriculture, wearables, aerospace, automotive, etc.) and military applications. Members of the media will also be able to meet and network with key influencers in the FHE manufacturing supply chain, as well as interact with NextFlex government agency partners and dignitaries.  More than 50 FHE pioneers will be on hand to demonstrate FHE-enabled products and capabilities. Highlights include:

  • American Semiconductor: Lighting and sensors on an ultra-thin FHE microcontroller that can be wrapped around something as small as a pinkie finger.
  • Brewer Science: Time-sensitive sensors for agricultural water monitoring that can save millions of gallons of water annually when using a needs-based system that shifts the usage focus from "on time" to "on demand." 
  • DuPont: Clothing, including a Formula 1 racing suit, featuring stretchable electronic inks and films that transform ordinary fabrics into active, connected, intelligent garments conveying biometric data, including heart rate, breathing rate, form awareness, and muscle tension.
  • Flex International:  Laminating prited carbon ink to fabrics, Flex is demonstrating a Printed PTC Heater that delivers warmth under various contexts in a novel sleek, conformable form factor. Also on demonstration are printed stretchable conductors, which are key technology for integrating electronics into athletic clothing.
  • FlexFactor: Piloted here in Santa Clara County, NextFlex's project-based learning program that immerses high school students in entrepreneurialism and advanced manufacturing, has grown from one classroom with eight students to 36 classrooms and 1,260 students. Students and education leaders will share their experience with this phenomenally successful program, which is poised to expand throughout California and across the U.S.
  • GE: Wireless wearable EKG device reliably communicates between patient and physician, providing instant and constant readings of how the body is responding to various conditions; along with a bicyclist featuring a wearable bio-fluid patch that measures hydration levels for tracking /optimizing performance levels in athletes and soldiers.
  • Georgia Institute of Technology:  Sleek, invisible, flexible skin-like, skin-mounted sensors that enable wireless human-machine interface through electromyography—including a machine arm that mimics the actions of a human arm. Implications include worker safety in industrial settings, such as handling materials in unsafe environments, and warfighters, enabling them to remotely disarm improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
  • Hewlett Packard Enterprise: Its Flexible Hybrid Electronics Process Design Kit (FHE-PDK) is the first comprehensive FHE design, modeling and verification kit for electrical and mechanical designers and flexible circuit samples using carbon-nanotubes (CNT). CNT has great potential for realizing penny-dollar RFID, asset tracking tag, and human monitoring patches.
  • Lockheed Martin: The Desert Hawk III unmanned aircraft drone system, together with the FHE components that LM is integrating into the next generation of the drone to enable significant improvements in performance and cost.
  • PARC (a Xerox company): A smart mouth guard that can non-invasively and continuously monitor health by detecting within saliva indicators of exhaustion, glucose levels, and organ distress, communicating these conditions in real time to a smartwatch, phone, or doctor.
  • Purdue University: Self-powered electronics and oxygen sensing/generating wound bandage.    This smart bandage can both measure and manage oxygen levels in a wound, thereby promoting faster wound healing compared to an ordinary bandage.
  • Universal Instruments:  advanced automation and assembly equipment solutions for life-enhancing flexible platform-based products, such as the advanced prosthetic LUKE arm that is now available to "wounded warrior" service members and veterans.  

Speakers during the morning program, which begins at 10:00 a.m., include:

  • Dr. Malcolm J. Thompson, NextFlex executive director
  • U.S. Representative Zoe Lofgren
  • U.S. Representative Ro Khanna
  • State Senator Bob Wieckowski
  • State Assembly Member Kansen Chu
  • Director, Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz), Panorea Avdis 
  • San Jose Vice Mayor Magdalena Carrasco
  • Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Manufacturing and Industrial Base Policy,
    Dr. John (Jerry) G. McGinn
  • Acting Director, Materials and Manufacturing Directorate, U.S. Air Force, Col. Charles D. Ormsby
  • Director of Electronics Technology, Boeing Research & Technology, Per Beith
  • Chancellor, Evergreen Valley College and San Jose City College, Dr. Debbie Budd
  • Celebrated business leadership author Don Schmincke

The event will be held at NextFlex's headquarters: 2244 Blach Place, Ste.150, San Jose, Calif. 95131.  Registration opens at 8:00 a.m. (PT), with the event starting at 10:00 a.m.  Please note, at 9:00 a.m., members of the media are invited to attend an exclusive preview, with a guided tour of the facility and demonstration area.

RSVP TODAY:  Innovation Day 2017 is open to accredited media and market analysts. As this will be a standing-room only event, those who wish to cover the event must RSVP to Marie Labrie at  providing the name, title, media/firm outlet, phone, and email for each person planning to attend the event.  Media that are not able to attend the event but are interested in photos can contact Marie at the email alias above.  You can also keep abreast of  the event by visiting or follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Participate using #innovation, #fhepioneers.

About NextFlex
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 US 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 and follow NextFlex on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.



Georgia Tech, a machine arm that mimics the actions of a human arm,
Photo by W. Hong Yeo

PARC, a smart mouth guard that can non-invasively and continuously monitor health, Photo by NextFlex

Universal Instruments LUKE Arm for Wounded Warriors, Photo by DARPA

DuPont Intexar, Photo by DuPont

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