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FlexTech Alliance awarded nano-sensor project by US Air Force

Phil Curry - 05 Feb 2013


The FlexTech Alliance has been selected to launch a new manufacturing consortium which will aid research into remove, wireless monitoring of physiological functions and structural performance.

The lliance will look to create a chip that can sense and communicate. SOURCE: J. Heikenfeld. Univ. Of CincinnatiThe Alliance has been awarded the project by the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), which will also invest $2.2 million into the work. Project partners, including GE, DuPont and Lockheed Martin will also provide investment to bring the total to $5.5 million.

The Air Force's initial interest is in monitoring pilots operating aircraft, as well as their support personnel, but companies in the broader health-care field are also eyeing this new technology for its commercial implications. All envision a future where incredibly lightweight, flexible electronics can instantaneously detect and transmit critical information.

Healthcare

The new consortium will work at the junction of nanotechnology, biotechnology, additive manufacturing and flexible electronics. The nano-bio manufacturing consortium, which also invludes a number of universities through the FlexTech Alliance, aims to bring together research and provide prototype monitoring devices which will integrate multiple functions, such as sensing, communications and power, all on a flexible electronics platform. Sensors could be used to guage mechanical stress of equipment, or monitor pilot performance.

The work could also have implications outside of the Air Force, as Michael Ciesinski, CEO of FlexTech Alliance states: 'Our mission is to deliver technology to the Air Force to monitor military personnel. While the Air Force's interests are obvious, real-time monitoring of the chronically infirm or elderly, for example, is an eventual commercial application as well.'

The consortium is expected to start working on research for the sensors in April 2013.

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