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Technical Working Groups

Via a series of technical working groups (TWGs), NextFlex subject matter experts from across the U.S. manufacturing industry, academia, and government come together to collaborate on technology roadmaps, key technology gaps, and the necessary planning required to advance the printed flexible electronics ecosystem.

technical working groups (TWGs)

Each working group is led by a team of three co-leads, including one expert from each sector. Together, with over 150 additional diverse subject matter experts, the working groups use this collaborative space to determine where the Project Call focus and funding should be for technological advancement of advanced manufacturing and printed flexible electronics.

Current focus areas include:

Human Monitoring Systems

Unobtrusive and minimally invasive wearable electronics for sensing and reporting physiological state of warfighters, athletes, geriatric populations, and medical patients in varied environments. Wearable electronics that accurately monitor several biomarkers while being comfortably worn or adhered to the subject’s skin.
wearable electronics

Industry Co-Lead: Azar Alizadeh, GE Research
Academic Co-Lead: Jeff Morse, UMass Amherst
Government Co-Lead: Regina Shia, AFRL

Asset Monitoring Systems

Conformal electronics or integrated devices for sensing and reporting the state of infrastructure, vehicles, logistics, or the environment. Networks of sensors or devices for Internet of Things concepts.

IoT asset monitoring

Industry Co-Lead: Michael Mitchell, Boeing Research and Technology
Academic Co-Lead: Pradeep Lall, Auburn University
Government Co-Lead: Ken Blecker, ARDEC

Integrated Array Antennas

Patterning of efficient printed wideband array antenna elements on flexible or conformal surfaces and integration of thinned electronics with printed wideband array elements. Applications in aeronautics, lightweight vehicles, or existing antenna structures.

conformal electronics

Industry Co-Lead: Joseph Kunze, SI2 Technologies
Academic Co-Lead: Alkim Akyurtlu, UMass Lowell
Government Co-Lead: Steven Weiss, ARL

Soft Robotics

Soft, compressible sensors and devices for robotic functionality, enabling active clothing, wearable robots or robotic tools, and advanced prosthetics. Improved robot-human interactions for surgery, manufacturing, and consumer electronics.

soft robotics

Industry Co-Lead: Deepak Trivedi, GE
Academic Co-Lead: Chuck Zhang, Georgia Tech
Government Co-Lead: Nathan Lazarus, ARL

Flexible Power

Power and energy storage subsystems for flexible hybrid electronics devices including flexible batteries, supercapacitors, wireless power, and energy harvesting approaches. These devices are compatible with small, unobtrusive, flexible form factors.

flexible electronics

Academic Co-Lead: Devin MacKenzie, University of Washington
Government Co-Lead: Enoch Wang, Government

Device Integration & Packaging

Development of new tools for handling and integrating thin flexible silicon dies, integrated circuits (ICs), passive components, and sensors on foldable, stretchable, flexible substrates and 3D surfaces. Leveraging advanced precision electronics printing and high-speed automated pick & place for integration of device components, interconnects, and data lines.

flexible circuit packaging

Industry Co-Lead: Nancy Stoeffel, GE
Academic Co-Lead: Stephen Gonya, Binghamton University
Academic Co-Lead: Mark Poliks, Binghamton University
Government Co-Lead: Darren Crum, NSWC Crane

Printed Flexible Components & Microfluidics

Developing and maturing contact and non-contact electronics printing processes that support hybrid electronics concepts, including sensors and discrete device components. Printing & integration of microfluidic channels and fluidic control elements.

printed electronics

Industry Co-Lead: Chris Stoessel, Eastman Chemical
Academic Co-Lead: Massood Atashbar, Western Michigan University
Government Co-Lead: Carrie Bartsch, AFRL

Materials

Supply scale-up and flexible hybrid electronics manufacturing processes for conductive and dielectric inks and pastes, adhesives, encapsulant materials, and flexible substrates. Developing new materials with high conductivity to expand their use in flexible hybrid electronics applications.

flexible substrates


Industry Co-Lead: John Williams, Boeing Research and Technology
Academic Co-Lead: Joey Mead, UMass Lowell
Government Co-Lead: Giuseppe Di Benedetto, Army ARDEC
Government Co-Lead: Kate Duncan, CERDEC
Government Co-Lead: Chris Tabor, AFRL

Modeling & Design

Leveraging existing software & hardware design capabilities, simulation techniques, and manufacturing process control tools while also integrating novel manufacturing design rules for flexible hybrid electronics.

EDA tools

Industry Co-Lead: Jin-Sung Youn, HPE
Academic Co-Lead: Suresh Sitaraman, Georgia Tech
Government Co-Lead: Phil Buskohl, AFRL

Standards, Testing, & Reliability

Developing tools and test protocols to evaluate device-level and system-level flexible hybrid electronics performance as well as reliability in both commercial and military environments. Partnering with standards organizations and professional societies to develop specifications & standards.

flexible circuit board testingIndustry Co-Lead: David Shaddock, GE
Academic Co-Lead: Mark Poliks, Binghamton University
Government Co-Lead: Emily Heckman, AFRL

Automotive

The NextFlex Automotive Technical Working Group applies learnings from NextFlex projects and the efforts of other NextFlex working groups to increase the durability, reliability and performance of FHE-enabled automotive components, improve the travel range of vehicles via use of FHE-enabled components, and reduce the cost of FHE-enabled components.

Academic Co-Lead: Pradeep Lall, Auburn University

Interested in joining a Technical Working Group?

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