Public-Private Partnership Looks To Advance Wearables and Health Apps

Department of Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced a multimillion-dollar public-private partnership that aims to develop flexible hybrid electronics, such as wearables and health monitoring technologies, FCW reports (Lyngaas, FCW, 8/28).

About Flexible Hybrid Electronics

Flexible hybrid electronics manufacturing is an innovative process that incorporates both the electronics and high-precision industries, according to the Pentagon. The process can produce light-weight sensors that conform to the shape of the human body or can stretch across an object's structure.

Venture Details

The Manufacturing Innovation Institute for Flexible Hybrid Electronics will consist of 162 companies, universities and other organizations. It will be based in San Jose, Calif., and led by the FlexTech Alliance (AP/New York Times, 8/28). The FlexTech Alliance includes:

  • Companies such as Apple and Lockheed Martin; and
  • Universities such as MIT and Stanford (DOD release, 8/28).

The venture will receive $75 million in funding from DOD over five years. Industry, academia and local government will provide $96 million (AP/New York Times, 8/28).

In a release, DOD officials said, "The potential array of products range from wearable devices to improved medical health monitoring technologies, and will certainly increase the variety and capability of sensors that already interconnect the world" (DOD release, 8/28).

According to the AP/New York Times, the venture could result in health monitors that could be built into military uniforms or used to help the elderly.

During a speech in Silicon Valley, Carter detailed several examples of potential health uses for flexible hybrid electronics, including:

  • Commercial applications that could help improve diagnostic X-rays to boost the accuracy and reduce the painfulness of breast cancer testing; and
  • Smart prosthetics for wounded soldiers that could provide the full flexibility of human skin (AP/New York Times, 8/28).
Source: iHealthBeat, Monday, August 31, 2015

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