Wearables and medical devices, logistics and infrastructure monitoring, and soft robotics for advanced prosthetics and augmented warfighter performance stand to be revolutionized by Flexible Hybrid Electronics (FHE). In each of these spaces there are specific civilian, military, and dual-use applications. To explore and refine these applications concepts and broaden the awareness of FHE technologies throughout the DoD, 114 participants from the from the NextFlex member community – industry, academia, and government partners – and DoD staff from outside the organizations with whom NextFlex often works, met for a transformational workshop at Lockheed Martin’s facility in Crystal City, VA, May 15-16. Technology requirements and capabilities were exchanged, and ideas on how to utilize FHE solutions to enable electronics safety and support systems for the warfighter of tomorrow were developed.
One power of a manufacturing institute like NextFlex is to convene a community to work together around a shared set of objectives. In line with this idea, the workshop was organized to bring together government and private sector participants with the goals to: 1) educate DoD user, requirements, and acquisition communities and DOD prime contractor business units on the status of FHE technology and manufacturing; and 2) describe current DoD challenges and needs that FHE solutions may help address. This two-way communication is directly aimed at accelerating FHE adoption for applications that will improve warfighter capabilities and defense outcomes by helping the FHE ecosystem focus on high priority needs and helping the DoD anticipate and plan for these solutions.
Left to Roght: 1) Dr. Jeff Stuart, Principal Member, Engineering Staff, Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Laboratories; 2) Dr. Robert Irie, DoD OSD AT&L Manufacturing & Industrial Base Policy Office (MIBP); 3) LTC Melinda Eaton, USAF Biomedical Sciences Corps Deputy Project Manager, TIRM/USAMMDA; 4) Mr. Michael Doctor, Director of Systems Engineering, Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy RDT&E.; 5) Dr. Joseph Kunze, CEO and President of SI2 Technologies, facilitates a breakout to help shape the FHE roadmap for antennas and wireless communication.