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Flexible and Hybrid Electronics Highlighted at IDTechEx Live 2017!

By David Savastano, Editor | 11.22.17

New technologies are discussed for sensors, displays, RFID and more.

With a focus on a wide array of areas, including flexible and hybrid electronics, IDTechEx Live! 2017 concluded its two-day conference on Nov. 16 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
 
Organized by IDTechEx, the conference set new highs for attendance and exhibitors. It included eight co-located concurrent programs this year, including 3D Printing, Energy Harvesting, Energy Storage Innovations, Graphene, Internet of Things (IoT) Applications, Printed Electronics, Sensors, and Wearables. 
 
“It went very well,” said IDTechEx CEO Raghu Das. “We sold out all of the halls, with 253 exhibitors and 3,500 attendees. Our previous high was 3,000 visitors. The feedback I received from exhibitors is that there was a good turnout of buyers.”
 
Das added that the presentations went well.
 
“In terms of talks on printed electronics, one highlight was OSRAM reporting that Audi will pay more for OLEDs due to brad excitement,” Das added. “There is more equipment her, like companies such as Bot Factory and Voltera, and we saw strong interest in flexible electronics.”

Conference Highlights

With eight concurrent tracks, IDTechEx Live! offered numerous insights into key markets.
 
Mark Douglas Jerger, market development consultant for Chromera, discussed “Printable Electro-Optic State Indicators for IoT and Healthcare,” which covered Verichrome, the company’sirreversible electrochromic material.

“Verichrome enables use/don’t use and go/no go decisions easily through our electrochromic color change technology,” Jerger noted. “For example, we can signal to users not to take expired medicines. Our initial targeted applications are the industrial/retail sensor tags, healthcare devices and passive applications that harvest RF energy.”
 
Sri Peruvemba, VP of marketing for CLEARink, discussed the company’s development of color materials offering video speeds for eReaders in his talk on “Frustrated eTIR (electrophoretic total internal reflection).”
 
“We are working on ePaper 2.0,” Peruvemba reported. “Educators and parents want children to have the latest information. Books are good for math, but what about information from yesterday’s TED talk? Outside of displays, we are in the prototype stage in areas ranging from wearables and the Inernet of Things (Iot) to signage and automotive.”
 
Miguel Castillo Holgado, VP global business development IoT for Altair, showed how the IoT can enable advances in food and beverages with his talk on “Smart Beer: How IoT Drives Innovation.” He noted that Carriots by Altair offers an end-to-end Internet of Things (IoT) platform.
 
“With our smart beer system, a flowmeter is installed between the beer barrel and the tap, and each time a beer is served, the information is sent to Carriots,” said Castillo. “We can collect sales data, working conditions on machines and can even change beer formulas remotely.”

In his presentation, “Integrating Printed Electronic Elements,” Nth Degree Technologies founder Dr. William spoke about his company’s advances in integrating simple functions into printed electronics devices, such as adding batteries to micro LEDs.
 
“We use traditional printing, such as screen and flexography,” he added.
 
The RAIN RFID session offered insights into how RFID is changing the of retail. RAIN RFID president Steve Halliday President noted that to date, RAIN RFID has connected more than 20 billion things. Wendy Werblin, director industry solutions for Impinj, discussed “RAIN RFID is a Key Enabler of the Internet of Things.”
 
“RAIN RFID adds intelligence to the IoT value chain and facilitates new applications for connected things,” Werblin said. “Wireless technology identifies, locates and authenticates billions of items, and enables a future where everyday items are part of a connected world.”
 
Jeremy Schenof, senior director, RFID solutions for Avery Dennison RBIS, added his thoughts in his talk on “Connected, Intelligent Packaging: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow?”
“Consumer expectations are changing,” Schenof noted. “For example, a study showed that 34% of shoppers have ended a purchase due to long lines.
 
“We have developed connected products that are born digital, which improves the supply chain, in store customer experience and post-purchase experience,” he added. “We have labels that store, transmit and/or sense data.”
 
Schenof outlined four key growth markets for RFID, beginning with baggage handling by airlines.
 
“We see continued growth in baggage tracking,” Schenof reported. “The airlines face a $2.5 billion cost for mishandled bags, and studies show that 80% of travelers want to track their bags in real time. Delta tagged 120 million bags with RFID, and handled the with 99% accuracy.
 
“Food waste and food shrink are a huge market,” he continued. “Reports say that 10% of food is wasted. RFID can help solve this. Better inventory accuracy can also help. There are a reported $3 billion in counterfeits in the market. RFID provides product authentication, improves asset visibility and inventory control. In terms of NFC, there are 3.5 billion NFC-enabled handsets out there, as people can connect through their smartphones. With PragmatIC, we can make billions of tags at a cost of less than one cent. We see intelligent labels at the last mile.”
 
Infratab CEO Therese (Terry) Myers CEO discussed the company’s Infratab Freshtime smart sensors and software in her talk, “Beyond the Supply Chain - How Quantifying Shelf Life Makes You Money and Provides a Platform for Premium Pricing.”
 
“We have developed Freshtime, our condition-based sensing sstem, complete with RFID sensor tags, dashboards, cloud services and analytics,” Myers noted. “It measures what, where, when and how is it.” 
 
Exhibitors’ Thoughts
 
Overall, exhibitors said they were happy with the exhibition.
 
“The first day was our best day in the last three years,” said Thomas Kolbusch, VP for Coatema Coatings Machinery GmbH.
 
Janos Veres, the leader of PARC’s Novel and Printed Electronics Program, said he saw some interesting advances at the show.
 
“I have learned a lot at this show, as I spent more time walking around that I usually do,” Veres added. “I am seeing a lot more real things with printed traces.”
 
XENON Corporation showed its new Centauri, a joint venture with Carpe Diem Technologies. Centauri is a platform incorporating R2R sintering. Michael Gnaegy, XENON’s VP of global sales, said that Centauri drew a lot of interest at the show.
 
“This has been a good show, with more foot traffic than in previous years,” Gnaegy reported. “Our new Centauri was a good draw and we are seeing a lot of interest.”
 
NovaCentrix showed its new PulseForge Invent, a new photonic curing base model that allows companies to configure the tool to their needs.
 
“There is a lot of energy around applications for flexible hybrid electronics,” said Stan Farnsworth, chief marketing officer at NovaCentrix. “We have received tremendous response to our new PulseForge Invent due to its configurable platform that allows users to purchase the $59,000 base model and add to it as they develop new capabilities.”