On Friday, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter will announce the creation of a new institute in San Jose to develop manufacturing techniques and new applications for flexible electronics. The Defense Department will invest $75 million over five years in the initiative. The institute will receive an additional $90 million from a coalition composed of Apple and other tech companies; the city of San Jose and other local governments; and academic institutions, including Stanford and San Jose State. […]
While prototypes of flexible electronics have been around for years, manufacturers are still trying to figure out how to mass produce them, said Malcolm Thompson, who will be the executive director of the new institute. That’s where the institute will step in.
Advances in flexible electronics are critical if we want to get past the tension between display size and pocket-ability. To-date, we have nice “segmented” electronics, like this LG keyboard, but we don’t have truly foldable electronics, where the display, circuit board (at least portions), and perhaps other components bend.