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An interview with Dr. Kenneth Church, Senior Scientist & CEO at nScrypt and Sciperio    

Q: Ken, tell us about your role at nScrypt and Sciperio and the focus of your organization.

A: The nScrypt/Sciperio family is built around pushing the boundaries of technology with specific goals of disruption in tradition. Traditional products, traditional manufacturing, traditional labs, traditional research, and traditional problem solving have established processes, procedures, and boundaries that make it effective, but it also inhibits what could be. We are open to move past tradition and purposely explore idealized concepts. Many people have tremendous imaginations, but this rarely leads to realization. The challenge is to imagine without limits and then execute that into existence. A singular word that might describe people that can do this is visionary. There is a fine line between a visionary and a delusionary. I like to think my contribution to these companies is the chief visionary and sometimes I must admit, at times, I am delusional.


Q: You are a very strong supporter and a recognized leader in flexible and hybrid electronics manufacturing. How did you find your passion for this emerging technology? 

A: My passion for this industry comes from being a visionary technologist. I love technology, there really is no such thing as too much. I am open to play in any technical playground; there are so many playgrounds and so little time. Flexible and hybrid is a very cool playground. From a technology point of view, there are so many different challenges, it is exciting to see a community come together and solve those one by one. From an impact point of view, flex/hybrid has a very broad reach. Next generation electronic packaging will change because of this technology. Next generation products will emerge because of this technology. These will range from fun things like clothes that actively play music or cool or warm you to medical devices that will be more accurate, more accessible, and more effective than what our current health system offers, and for a lot less money.


Q: What is a key innovation that will enable widespread adoption of FHE and related technologies, and what application areas are you working in? 

A: There is no singular key innovation. I think from a high level the key innovation is non-planar, flexible, and even stretchable.  When we do that well and with high speed or high throughput, all the rules of what a product is will change. Inside the overreaching innovation of flex, there are many innovations that contribute, but Direct Digital Manufacturing (DDM) is an important concept. This means I can make any product from a digital file without having to retool.  Retooling is time consuming and expensive and this is why it is important to sell millions of the same product before the next generation product is released. DDM will change that.  It will one day be possible to make one or a one million and achieve the economies of scale, because DDM will already be tooled for all of them. This will lead to personalized products. No longer will you buy the same t-shirt as those around you, you’ll have yours with your own graphics, lights, heaters, health monitors, and whatever else is important to you. Health monitoring will become the dominate form of personalized medicine. Expensive medical equipment that belongs in labs and hospitals will be put into baseball caps that you wear to the park. Blood diagnostics will be done with your personalized, electronic tattoo that links to your smart glasses which also serve as your monitor and your sunglasses. This will happen and the innovations to make this real are not yet complete, but there has been tremendous movement in the right direction.


Q: You have been an active as a (fill in role: projects, TWG, events, voting Tech Council, Governing Council, etc. What upcoming activities are you most excited about? 

A: I am a huge fan of technical societies, technical conference and tradeshows. Publishing in peered reviewed papers keeps scientists challenged, honest and informed. One person alone could not build a rocket ship and carry a man to the moon, it took teams of people from all different backgrounds and a bunch of money to make that real. This is no different, it will take teams and teams of us with extreme diverse technical and non-technical backgrounds and a whole bunch of money. Money will not magically appear; it appears when there is a benefit. Just as the government was a key contributor in the advances in space, this same government has been key in contributing to this industry as well. Their money is not the entirety, but it is typically the kick start. When industry sees the benefits of next generation products and cost savings, they jump in. The jumping has begun because flex/hybrid has demonstrated some early wins. The momentum is building and more money will flow and more wins will happen. This will lead us to standards in materials, processes, equipment and function. Standards happen in these professional societies. We actively participate in these, we actively publish in technical journals, we actively participate in government funded projects, and we actively work with STEM outreach to educate the future on the future.


Q: You have been an active member of NextFlex and have participated in a variety of ways. What has the membership experience been like for you? 

A: I think any good organization boils down to one thing, people.  If you have the right people, they will have the right vision.  The right people will have the right passion. The right people will have the right execution. Nextflex has many right people; I like to work with the right people. I do think their mission is right. Time is short and so wasting time on or with an organization that drags on you is never a good idea. We have found a mutually beneficial relationship with Nextflex and that is key.