By Sue Davis, Director of Business Development & Senior Analyst, Techcet
IDTechEx Printed Electronics USA 2015, held in Santa Clara, CA Nov 18-19, is one mega conference with 8 co-located tracks ranging from sensor technology & wearables to IoT, energy harvesting & storage to electric vehicles, 3D printing and graphene. IDTechEx completely occupied the Santa Clara Convention Center; throughout the day attendees and exhibitors commented attendance was up over prior years. To the dismay of some late arrivals, parking spaces were at a premium.
A venue with >200 exhibitors showcasing new technologies and applications connected conference attendees with equipment and materials suppliers, OEMs, end users, research institutes and academia.
Raghu Das, CEO of IDTechEx, kicked off the conference by sharing a key trends including:
- Structural electronics are here now!
- The Fashion industry is converging with technology (and evidenced by a number of exhibitors from this sector)
- Stretchable electronics R&D has ramped significantly in the last 12 months
- Printed and flexible electronics manufacturing is becoming center stage
Dr. Mounir Zok, a keynote speaker and biomedical engineering specialist for the US Olympic committee started his talk with a quote “The blink of an eye dictates gold vs no medal.” He emphasized that technology is a key enabler to continually improve sports performance.
Highlights from exhibitors and speakers follow.
Keith McMillen, founder and CEO of BeBop Sensors and avid musician, shared his journey of developing smart fabric cylindrical sensors to analyze a violinist’s bow movement led to utilizing this technology for the Internet of Things and the founding of BeBop Sensors.
Dream car in every facet; aesthetics, functionality and environmental impact understates the design of the Blade Car. Keith Czinger, CEO and Founder of Divergent discussed the foundation for Blade’s development was deeply rooted in reducing environmental impact while ensuring high performance. Divergent reports that manual chassis assembly can be completed within 30 minutes utilizing its’ node network. Nodes are manufactured of a metal alloy and produced using 3D printers. The light and strong chassis is comprised of these nodes and with carbon fiber tubes.
Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) manufactured via additive 3D printing technology, vs. conventional processing labor, material and time intensive processes was demonstrated at NanoDimension’s booth. Simon Fried, CMO and Co-Founder of NanoDimension discussed the benefit of 3D printed circuit boards (prototyping in hours vs weeks, design flexibility, process repeatability, …). In addition to development the DragonFly 3D printer, NanoDimension has developed a line of specialty conductive inks.
Sensoria Fitness has developed a line of wear fitness clothing and integrated running system that communicates with iOS and Android apps. A key use case is the gait analysis capability to assist with performance running and to assist clinicians with treatment plans for dysfunctional gait patterns.
View Technologies, a joint venture between Stanley Black & Decker, Inc. and RF Controls, has developed the inView Platform that enables 3rd party applications to run more efficiently and accurately. This platform is comprised of Echo antenna(s) and three tiers of service that allow you Locate, Track and Act depending on business needs. Location service provide as real-time stream of 3D position data for Passive UHF RFID tags.
Valencell develops high-performance biometric sensor technology and licenses its technology to a variety of consumer electronics manufacturers, mobile device and accessory makers, sports and fitness brands, gaming companies, and first-responder/military suppliers for integration into their products.
Another show highlight was Demonstration Street, a dedicated area on the show floor for product demonstrations in various stages of development - prototype to commercialization- featured printed flexible displays including posters, e-readers, audio paper, interactive games, OLED displays, electronics in fabrics, interactive printed controls and menus, printed RFID and more.
IDTechEx 2015 USA offered a myriad of opportunities to interact with technologists and exhibitors attend hundreds of insightful presentations. Master classes covering an array of topics and company tours bookended the two-day conference and exhibition. The main challenge was to create a “show plan” in hopes that one would be able to attend desired presentations and exhibits.