Launched in August, 2015, NextFlex is a public-private consortium chartered to advance the maturity of flexible hybrid electronics manufacturing in the US. Flexible hybrid electronics involves the integration of thinned semiconductor or other bulk devices with printed electronics on flexible substrates. This technology is envisioned to enable advanced forms of human monitoring, up to and including “smart bandages” and other therapeutic applications; flexible sensor networks for monitoring of vehicles, buildings, bridges and other high-value assets; flexible, rollable, and conformable integrated array antennas; and “soft” robotics that utilize flexible electronics to impart and control motion in prosthetics and robotic devices.
These and other applications represent a new set of platforms for semiconductor devices, which have been limited by bulky, rigid chip packages and fixed circuit boards; unlike flex circuits, flexible hybrid electronics involves integrating semiconductor devices in ways that enable a much higher level of flexibility, as well as reducing size, weight, and power consumption. These features will enable semiconductors to be utilized in a new set of IoT edge devices that conform to the body and the built environment, as well as creating new flexible systems.
In addition to funding manufacturing development and demonstration projects through its members, NextFlex is also building the San Jose hub to evaluate, integrate, and demonstrate advanced techniques for flexible hybrid electronics manufacturing, and is soliciting tool, equipment, material and other electronics manufacturing supply chain participants to make their products available to the Institute as a part of a special membership category.
NextFlex invites interested companies and organizations to attend the briefing on July 15, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. To attend, register by July 5 at www.nextflex.us/events/open-house-july/