Started last year, FlexTech Alliance, a research consortium and trade association, (of which Touch Display research is a member), proposed to US government a San Jose-based hub to create the FHE MII (Flexible Hybrid Electronics Manufacturing Institute) which comprises 96 companies, 11 laboratories and non-profits, 43 universities, and 15 state and regional organizations. This broad-based support underscores the market potential for flexible hybrid electronics, and reaffirms Silicon Valley’s role as an essential hub for innovation.
On August 28, 2015, The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) awarded FlexTech Alliance a Cooperative Agreement to establish and manage a Manufacturing Innovation Institute (MII) for Flexible Hybrid Electronics (FHE MII). The award is for $75 million in federal funding over a five-year period and is being matched by more than $96 million in cost sharing from non-federal sources, including the City of San Jose, private companies, universities, several U.S. states, and not-for-profit organizations.
On October 29, 2015, FlexTech Alliance announced the new name for FHE MII (Flexible Hybrid Electronics Manufacturing Institute) to be NextFlex. It’s website is nextflex.us
Figure: NextFlex logo
NextFlex will be headquartered in San Jose. The Institute will distribute R&D funds via competitively-bid project calls. Happy birthday NextFlex!
May 16, 2014
I’m traveling in northern Ohio this week to speak at the FlexTech Alliance workshop. It’s good to be back in Ohio, since I got my Ph.D. from Kent State University in Ohio 14 years ago. Ohio is like my second home.
Kent Displays invited me to visit them during this trip. Right when I entered Kent Displays’ company lobby, there is a digital signage in the lobby, showing the message, “Welcome, Jennifer Colegrove, Enjoy your day.” I felt very special and took a picture of it. See figure here.
Figure. Kent Displays digital signage
Source: Kent Displays Inc. Photo by Jennifer Colegrove
The digital signage is using Kent Displays’ bi-stable LCD, which is called “zero power” display. The display doesn’t consume any power when showing a static image; only consume power when you change the image. It is operated with battery; no power plug needed.
I had a meeting with my old industry friends: Dr. Green, CEO of Kent Displays, and Dr. Khan, CTO of Kent Displays, and Mr. Oswald, communication director of Kent Displays. I also had a tour of their factory and discovered their success story of the Boogie Board.
Kent Displays make the Boogie Board from the flexible display to the final shipping box of the Boogie Board. In another words, they do the whole supply chain. Dr. Khan said, “In some sense, we are doing more than Apple.” That is a good comparison and its true. Apple doesn’t make the displays; rather they purchase the displays from LG, Samsung, Sharp, AUO, Japan Display, etc.
More analysis will be in our “Touch and Emerging Display” May 2014 report. You can subscribe to the report right now on this website.
Thanks for reading,
Jennifer and team