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Seventh Manufacturing Innovation Institute Formed to Focus on Flexible, Hybrid Electronics

Posted By Jeff Moad, August 31, 2015 at 12:55 PM, in Category: Transformative Technologies

The U.S. White House and Department of Defense today announced plans to create a manufacturing innovation institute that will be supported by $171 million in government and private funds and will advance research into and development of flexible electronic devices that can be used in wearable devices, soft robotics, and other systems.

The new Manufacturing Institute for Flexible Hybrid Electronics will be led by the FlexTech Alliance, a public/private manufacturing consortium that is based in San Jose, CA and that includes 162 companies, nonprofits, and universities as members. Company members include Applied Materials, Apple, Hewlett Packard, Qualcomm, Boeing, General Motors, Corning, and Motorola. Academic members include UC Berkeley, Stanford, Harvard, and MIT.

The new institute will be funded with $75 million from the Department of Defense as well as $96 million in private and other non-federal contributions.

In a statement, the White House said the new institute will bridge advanced research and commercial product development with the goal of securing U.S. leadership in flexible hybrid electronics and spurring innovation and jobs.

Flexible, hybrid electronics combine electronics and high-precision printing processes to create chips and sensors that are light weight and can be integrated into fabrics and other materials and stretched across many different forms. The technology will be fundamental to the Internet of Things, permitting the connection of a wide range of things, from roads and bridges to bandages.

In addition to advancing research and development of flexible, hybrid electronics, the new institute will invest in education and workforce development to support growth of the market in the U.S.

The Manufacturing Innovation Institute for Flexible Hybrid Electronics is the seventh such public-private partnership institute formed by the White House and DoD aimed at assisting the advancement of advanced manufacturing in the U.S. Others have focused on technologies such as 3D printing and digital design and manufacturing.

Written by Jeff Moad

Jeff Moad is Research Director and Executive Editor with the Manufacturing Leadership Community. He also directs the Manufacturing Leadership Awards Program. Follow our LinkedIn Groups: Manufacturing Leadership Council and Manufacturing Leadership Summit


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