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FlexTech Alliance has awarded a grant to develop and manufacture an integrated printed sensor system for use in multiple healthcare and product monitoring applications.
The project leverages commercial development work currently underway between PARC and Thinfilm Electronics on designing a printed sensor platform and will integrate temperature sensing as well as assess an oxygen sensor being developed at the University of California at Berkeley.
Applications made possible at the conclusion of this project may include radiation tags, disposable medical sensors, temperature tracking of pharmaceuticals at the item level, and monitoring of food sources for spoilage and contamination. Although different in application, these types of sensor systems may share similar architectural designs. This project establishes a foundation of building blocks used to design sensor systems, helping accelerate commercial implementation of existing and future components of printed electronic products.
"FlexTech Alliance chose to support this project because it will help stimulate market demand, the next step for the growth and success of the printed electronics industry," said Michael Ciesinski, CEO of FlexTech Alliance. "The project participants are key players who will bring together their expertise in printed memory, logic and sensors to create new, cost-effective methods to monitor health, promote food safety, and facilitate item level tracking, among other applications."
Specific goals of the project include:
- Demonstrate the world's first integrated printed sensor circuitry - the basis for a smart tag including printed temperature sensor and printed nonvolatile rewritable memory, controlled by organic logic.
- Provide reference designs for sensor control and integration with other devices and demonstrate that the building blocks of these designs can be manufactured by gravure printing.
The market for sensor devices is established and growing. The worldwide market for biosensors alone is expected to grow from US$8.5 billion in 2012 to US$16.8 billion by 2018, according to MarketResearch.com. The inherent advantages printed sensor systems have over those fabricated with conventional electronics methods make them ideal candidates to gain considerable market share. Printed sensors can be produced at fractions of the cost of conventional electronics with the added advantage of thin, flexible form factors - opening up new markets where sensing is currently too expensive but high performance levels are not required.