Stretching Northeast Ohioâ€™s Leadership in Flexible Electronics
Thanks to its expertise in additive manufacturing and polymers, Northeast Ohio is growing a robust flexible electronics cluster. Flexible electronics refers to electronic devices that can be bent, rolled, or folded without losing functionality. According to experts, the global flexible electronics market will grow to $250 billion in the next 10 years.
More notably, our very own Northeast Ohio is capturing a significant portion of the flexible electronics market. Read on to learn more about some of the companies and organizations that are making a name for themselves in this growing area.
With a number of locations in Northeast Ohio, Avery Dennison is one company to take note of in the flexible electronics sector. Through their Vancive division, they are developing new technologies in connection with healthcare leaders around the globe. For example, their suite of Metria health products enables people to collect lifestyle data such as activity levels, sleep quality and much more all by wearing a disposable medical patch. The data collected can be viewed online and then analyzed for a medical professional to review. This is a powerful tool for those seeking to manage their diabetes, weight loss and other health-related issues. To learn more about the Metria IH1 patch, click here.
Blue Spark Technologies is another major player in the area of flexible electronic. Based in Westlake, Blue Spark Technologies is the innovator behind TempTraq. TempTraq is the first and only 24-hour intelligent thermometer that continuously senses, records and sends alerts of a child’s temperature to compatible Apple and Android mobile devices through a dedicated mobile app. To learn more about how TempTraq works, visit https://www.temptraq.com/FAQs.
Located near Kent State University, Kent Displays is a world leader in the research, development and manufacturing of no power LCD technology. Five years ago, the company launched the Boogie Board Original 8.5 LCD eWriter which transformed the way people take notes. A few years prior, the company installed a new roll-to-roll production line at their headquarters in Kent to mass produce Reflex LCDs from rolls of plastic. This production line is the first of its kind in the world. This year, the company will roll out two new versions of the Boogie Board that will be available for the 2015 holiday season.
Another organization in the region that is an early adopter of new technology is NASA. With the Glenn Research Center located in Cleveland, we are fortunate to have this level of expertise and leadership right in our backyard. One project NASA is currently working on is a printable spacecraft, which is a two dimensional “sheet” that contains all of the functional subsystems of a typical spacecraft. The idea is to push the current state of the art for functionality as well as introduce design and manufacturing compatibility challenges among the functional subsystems. A representative from NASA further addressed this subject during a FlexTech Workshop held at The University of Akron last year. The workshop led to tours of the campus-based National Polymer Innovation Center (NPIC) and Valtronic, an innovator and manufacturer of miniaturized electronic products.
As flexible electronics support a number of diverse industries such as aerospace and aviation, automotive, biomedical/medical devices, energy, ICE and polymers and materials, Northeast Ohio is well-poised to benefit from continued growth in these areas. The companies noted above are just a sampling of the many regional organizations playing a part in the flexible electronics cluster. With a projected $250 billion global market in the next 10 years, Northeast Ohio is on track to capture a significant piece of the flexible electronics pie.