For this years Flexible & Stretchable Electronics session at the forthcoming Printed Electronics Europe 2012 conference & exhibition, IDTechEx is working together with Fraunhofer IZM, the organizers of the last FlexStretch Workshop. IDTechEx is hosting its 8th annual Printed Electronics Europe event on 3-4 April 2012 in Berlin, Germany. www.PrintedElectronicsEurope.com
The Flex & Stretch session will cover the broad range of relevant technologies from stretchable components for energy harvesting & storage, the use of stretchable systems in medical applications and industrial fabrication concepts for stretchable electronic systems.
In its 3rd edition, the 2011 Flexible & Stretchable Electronics workshop was organized by and held at Fraunhofer IZM in Berlin. The workshop is part of the activities of nationally funded projects in the field of flexible and stretchable electronics. Here are some of the highlights from that workshop, which IDTechEx attended.
Fraunhofer IZM is working on micro packaging for the medical field with focus on biocompatible, integrated systems. Erik Jung showed demonstrators of flexible circuitry on a bandage system and wristband to assist in elderly care. Especially in the medical field Erik expressed the need for flexible circuitry when it comes to integration into every day items as well as miniaturizing and shaping to fit to the human body.
Another medical application called Bilirubin blanket was shown by Koen van Os from Philips. This regular textile blanket uses new light-emitting textile technology with integrated blue LEDs to treat neonatal jaundice. Covered with a light-diffusing layer the curative blue LED light is spread evenly over the patient's skin thereby maximizing the effectiveness of this therapy, which is directly proportional to the amount of skin exposed. Philips is the first company to incorporate LED light sources into soft and flexible textiles for phototherapy.
Bilirubin blanket (Source: Philips)
Several flexible and textile electronics concepts for the automotive industry, such as seat heating and seat occupation detection, panel heating, biosignal sensors in the steering wheel etc. have also been shown. Major automotive brands including Mercedes Benz, BMW, Porsche, Ford and the US Military, have dedicated projects on these topics. Nevertheless, as Holger Meinel from Daimler expressed it, the automotive industry is still very cost and lifetime driven, currently aiming for a lifetime of 15 years. Meinel commented that this might come down in the next few years, especially as cars will more and more look similar on the outside due to compliance so the car interior will become the place for corporate differentiation in the future.
Further progress in flexible and stretchable electronics will be presented at the IDTechEx Printed Electronics & Photovoltaics Europe 2012 event in Berlin, 3-4 April. See what has been done and what is possible at Demonstration Street, the world's largest collection of printed, organic and flexible electronics products in one place. All conference attendees will receive free working samples of printed and flexible electronics. Find more information on the event and how to get involved see www.PrintedElectronicsEurope.com . Register by Feb 8th to save 40%.