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NextFlex, America’s first and only Flexible Hybrid Electronics (FHE) Manufacturing Institute, announced today that it is releasing Project Call 2.0 (PC 2.0)—its call for a second round of proposals for up to $10 million in project funding to further the development and adoption of FHE. NextFlex is an industry-led, collaboration-based institute that mobilizes companies, academic institutions, nonprofits, and government toward a single goal: to advance the manufacturing ecosystem for FHE in the United States. Including cost-sharing, the total project value is expected to exceed $20 million.
After overwhelming response surrounding NextFlex’s inaugural project call, PC 2.0 will continue to focus on the areas identified in the FHE Roadmap established by NextFlex. Topic areas for this proposal include projects that bridge industries such as pharmaceutical, food and agriculture with the Internet of Things (IoT), and wireless communications for real-time data and analysis on temperature, UV exposure, vibration, and other environmental conditions that can be critical for perishable commodity products. These capabilities will be key to delivering efficiency and intelligence not only to commercial sectors, but to American troops as well.
But that’s not all, PC 2.0 is also looking at funding proposals for the advanced manufacturing equipment needed to produce these versatile FHE devices. Besides the markets identified above, FHE devices can be leveraged in health and fitness applications; this includes robotic prosthetic limbs for injured soldiers, amputees, or cancer survivors, or sensor patches that can track stress levels of soldiers on the battlefield or among premature babies that are too fragile for traditional blood work and tests. Other FHE device applications include novel robotics usage, automotive, aerospace, wearables, and even monitoring for the health and safety of structures, such as bridges and buildings.
“There are so many ways that FHE can change the way we live today. Our mission at NextFlex is to have function follow form—because we’re enabling things that haven’t been explored or previously made available, and we’ll have the manufacturing technology prowess behind us to make that happen,” said Dr. Malcolm Thompson, executive director of NextFlex.
About Flexible Hybrid Electronics
FHE combines the ability to add electronics to new and unique materials that are part of our everyday lives along with the power of silicon ICs to create lightweight, low-cost, flexible, conformable and stretchable smart products to solve new problems and advance the efficiency of our world.
NextFlex was founded on August 28, 2015, through the execution of a Cooperative Agreement between the U.S. Department of Defense and FlexTech Alliance, a SEMI strategic association partner. A public-private partnership, NextFlex is the seventh Manufacturing Innovation Institute funded through the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation to create, showcase, and deploy new capabilities and new manufacturing processes.